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Sophomores Stepping up for LID

Last season the Lancaster-Iroquois-Depew girl’s hockey team crashed the Federation playoff party by stunning Section VI and New York State champion Williamsville in the semi-finals. Team LID eventually lost to Frontier-Lake Shore-Orchard Park (FLOP) but the team made a statement and the team is looking to pick up in 2019 right where they left off.

Despite an opening night overtime loss to Monsignor Martin by a 2-1 margin, Team LID proved they will be a force to be reckoned with this year. Senior Jersey Phillips (Depew), a forward who can also play defenseman, is one of the premier players in WNY Girls Fed. She finished fourth in the scoring race but was 2nd overall in goals scored with 25. Skating on a line with fellow senior Beth Horvatis (Iroquois) and sophomore Morganne Dee (Lancaster), the girls make up what could be one of the best lines in the state.

On Tuesday the trio combined for 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists) with Dee netting four. The trio have a supporting cast as well, most notably goaltenders Dylan Gorski and Mackenzie Walkowiak, both sophomores from Iroquois.

Added to the mix this year is a new head coach, Kevin Miller who had been coaching in the Lancaster boy’s hockey program for the past 27 years, most recently with the Fed team.

After the 2018-19 season Miller stepped down from his position to spend more time with his father who was having some medical issues. Instead of trying to balance family life along with work and then his coaching responsibilities, he felt it would be wise to step away from coaching this year and give another coach the appropriate time to get ready for the next season. But to his great surprise his father’s condition improved and this opportunity presented itself, almost in the 11th hour.

“I’m blessed to be here. It’s humbling but I could not be more thankful for this opportunity,” Miller said. “The girls game isn’t any different, you still need to play defense and you need good goaltending and have to score goals.”

On Tuesday afternoon LIDs played a near flawless game. Offensively they produced 39 shots on goal, scored seven, including two on the power play, while only giving up one goal late in the third. Their penalty killing units successfully killed off both third period penalties.

“We lost a lot of our defensive players last year but the new girls are very good and are playing hard every shift,” Dee said. “I’ve been on a line with Jersey and Bethany for the past two seasons and our chemistry continues to grow.”

Dee scored nine goals in all of 2018-19, through 2 games this year she’s sitting on five. “I’m always looking to be on top of the leaderboard but I’m happier to just do it for my team.”

Walkowiak turned back 15-of-16 shots faced Tuesday, and along with Gorski, give LIDs a solid 1-2 punch between the pipes.

Expect LID to make a deep run again this year. Especially if the PHD line continues to dominate.

Prior to Tuesday afternoon’s face-off, and as part of the WNY Girls Fed 10th season celebrations, a ceremonial puck drop took place at center ice.

Feature Image Courtesy of Bill Pavone.

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