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Sun., Dec. 21
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Potsdam girls gear up for High School Hockey Championship title defense

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CANTON - While the threat of a winter storm has changed the schedule for the High School Girls Hockey League Championship this weekend at the Canton Pavilion, the goal remains the same for Potsdam Central heading into a semi-final round matchup against Section 3 champion Alexandria.

“We want to score first and play them even from there. If we do that, we move on,” said coach Joe Stark as the Section 10 champion Lady Sandstoners get set to begin defense of their unofficial state title on Saturday starting at noon against the Purple Ghosts.

The championship weekend was originally scheduled to open this evening with the two semi-final round matchups then end with the tournament final Saturday afternoon. Since the entire Northeastern United States is bracing for a massive mid-winter snowstorm, it was decided to move the semis to Saturday at noon and 2 p.m. and the title game to Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Section 7 champion Beekmantown will go up against Section 6 champion Kenmore East in the other semi-final on Saturday at 2 p.m. This marks the first year that the High School Championship tournament features a team from the Buffalo region. Since only four sections in the state offer high school girls hockey, this weekend’s tournament isn’t considered an official New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship. The basic requirement is six sections.

The Lady Sandstoners enter the weekend riding the momentum of a 10-game win streak that has raised their overall record to 18-2. They won the tournament title last winter to cap a 21-1 season.

“We’re 39-3 the last two years so we’ve been consistent. We graduated some strong players but we had a lot of kids step up this year. We have a good mix and we’re getting contributions from all the grade levels,” noted Stark.

Potsdam defended its sectional title last weekend with a 5-2 win over Canton and will be taking on an upstart Alexandria squad that improved to 8-7-2 with a 1-0 decision over Skaneateles in the Section 3 final. In their only meeting of the regular season, the Lady Sandstoners skated to a 5-0 win over the Purple Ghosts at Pine Street Arena in mid-December.

Freshman Kalie Grant leads a balanced Potsdam offense with 46 points on 36 goals and 10 assists. Junior Ally Miller, who scored the game-winning goal in last year’s title game win over Beekmantown, has tallied eight goals and 21 assists for 29 points while senior Megan Stevenson has generated 8 goals and 15 assists for 23 points.

The trio of junior Megan Plumb (15-3-18), sophomore Kirstin Barkley (6-10-16) and junior Jenny Tardelli (2-8-10) has also made lead contributions up front.

The Lady Sandstoners also feature a versatile defensive corps led by seniors Kady Hart (3-11-14) and Sierra Gagnon (3-10-13). Freshman blueliner Jordan Emerson has also made a major impact offensively this winter with 18 points on six goals and 12 assists.

Potsdam has also benefitted from the steady play of sophomore netminder Allie Compeau, who played sparingly last winter behind five-year veteran Abby Tardelli. In her 15 games this season, Compeau has posted a 1.20 goals against average and a .920 save percentage to go along with a 14-1 record. Eighth-grader Sidney Molnar has seen action between the pipes in five games as a rookie and her goals against average stands at 1.46 and save percentage at .880. Potsdam is 4-1 with her working the crease.

“Allie has been solid for us all year and that’s been a big key. As a team, we also do a great job of checking sticks and making sure teams don’t get a lot of second chances on shots,” Stark noted.

As a team, the Lady Sandstoners have outscored their opponents 98-24.

After closing out the regular season with a loss to Canton, the Purple Ghosts put together back-to-back 1-0 wins in their two sectional tournament games against Ithaca and Skaneateles. Jessica Prance is the team’s leading scorer with 19 points on 12 goals and seven assists. Molly Aznoe (2-5-7) and Hayley Aubertine (5-2-7) are the next two. Kayla Rios (1.70 gaa, .950 save percentage, 5-4-1 record) and Samantha Griswold (2.63 gaa, .91 save percentage, 3-3-0 record) have shared goaltending duties this winter.

BEEKMANTOWN vs. KENMORE EAST

Beekmantown enters the weekend with a 17-1-4 record which includes a 2-1 regular season win over Potsdam. The Lady Eagles have outscored their opponents 86-23 this winter. Offensive leaders include; Emily Raville (20-13-33), Amanda Peterson (17-14-31), Katie Matott (15-13-28), Kallie Villemaire (10-10-20), Clara Giroux (4-14-18) and Alexis Guay (6-11-17). Kayleigh Bell has handled the bulk of the goaltending duties, posting a 12-1-1 record, 1.13 goals against average and .930 save percentage.

Kenmore East is a newcomer to the tournament but the Bulldogs improved to 10-2-1 after defending their Section 6 championship with a 2-1 decision over Williamsville in double overtime in this year final. Alyssa Dollendorf scored the game-winning goal while Lauren Pray made 35 saves backstopping the win as the Bulldogs prevailed despite being outshot 36-23.

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