Heading into Friday night’s Section 3 semifinal against Alexandria Bay, Ithaca High girls’ hockey coach Jessica Link expected to see a close game.
She ended up getting what she expected, although not the result she and the Little Red had hoped for, as the Little Red’s season came to an end with a 1-0 loss to the Purple Ghosts at Cass Park.
“We had two evenly matched games with them prior to this game, and that’s exactly what we got tonight,” said Link. “They just came out at the end.”
After a quiet, back and forth first period, Alexandria Bay’s Hayley Aubertine scored the game’s only goal just 10 seconds into the second. Ithaca picked up its play in the third period, but couldn’t get the equalizer.
“In the third period we came out hard and had a couple scoring chances, but I think the overall penalties and power plays just killed us,” Link said.
Kayla Rios made 24 saves to earn the shutout for the Purple Ghosts, who will play top-seeded Skaneateles Saturday in the sectional final. Ithaca goalie Devin Baylor made 17 saves.
Ithaca, which finished the season 5-9-1, had issues with consistency throughout the game, Link said, adding that it plagued the team all season long.
“We can skate as well as anybody, but we have our issues,” she said. “Playing a good, solid 45 minutes is all we need to work on.”
The Little Red was seeking its fifth state title in the last 13 seasons. It won titles in 2001, ’02, ’03 and ’11.