Saturday, July 02, 2022

(SAR Sports) After defeating the Kushner Cobras 3-2 in a thrilling semi-finals matchup, the top seeded SAR Sting, coached by veteran yeshiva league coaches Howie and Noah Falkenstein, faced off against the two-time defending champion Heschel Heat at a packed gym at Ma’ayanot on Tuesday, June 14. Heschel, led by coaches Isaac Dweck and Jason Silverstein, defeated a tough Ramaz Rams team 2-1 in their semi-final matchup.

The Sting came out strong and determined right from the start, consistently beating Heschel to the hockey ball in both zones. Heschel goalie, senior Sara Burkoff, was very strong in net keeping her team in the game. SAR freshman forward Maya Best scored the first goal of the game on a quick backhand shot off of great corner work from her linemate sophomore Avielle Schiller, giving the Sting a 1-0 lead after the first period.

The second period saw the hockey ball mostly in Heschel’s defensive zone as the Sting were relentless in their forecheck and peppering the Heschel goalie with shots from all angles. The SAR defensemen all did a tremendous job keeping the ball in the offensive zone as well as blocking and clearing out anything that came their way in the defensive zone.

Then with under two minutes remaining in the second period, SAR senior captain Zoe From fired a strong wrist shot off the crossbar and the rebound was poked home by junior forward Julia Lebowitz to give the Sting a 2-0 lead, sending the SAR bench and fans into a frenzy.

SAR headed to the locker room with a commanding 2-0 lead after two periods of play.

The Sting came out flying in the third period, not giving Heschel any chance to get back into the game. Senior captain Lola Kolb, scored on a nice wrap-around on the very first shift of the period, giving SAR a big 3-0 lead. Kolb played a terrific game using her blazing speed and tenacity. SAR continued to pour it on with relentless offensive pressure and team speed from each line coach Howie Falkenstein put out on the floor. The energy line of junior forwards Abby Hakimi and Lebowitz played a big role in the Sting’s wearing down the Heat’s defense.

From continued her terrific game by scoring a nice rebound goal off of a shot from Best making it 4-0. SAR freshman defenseman Oriyan Weinberger added the final goal of the night on a hard wrist shot from long distance, giving the Sting a dominating 5-0 lead.

The SAR defensemen, the backbone of the team all season, was led under the tutelage of championship coach Noah Falkenstein. Senior defenseman Maayan Sarna, junior Leora Levy and the freshman trio of Hilla Shiller, Lia Tuchman and Weinberger were all standouts on the backline, blocking shots, clearing the front of their net and using their speed to alleviate any pressure from Heschel. Sting senior captain Sophie Yurowitz, battled through an early ankle injury to contribute defensively in key third period shifts.

As the final seconds ticked down, SAR’s senior captain, goaltender and vocal leader Emma Freund finished off her shutout performance, raising her arms in the air, as her teammates stormed the court in the always amazing victory pile on. The SAR Sting are the 2022 girls high school hockey champions!

From start to finish, SAR was on their game, focused and determined and in a total team effort proved to be worthy league champions!

SAR’s Zoe From was named the MVP of the championship game with an outstanding performance leading the Sting offensive attack.

The victory marked SAR’s first girls high school hockey championship and first girls title for coaches Howie and Noah Falkenstein. The Falkenstein brothers have also coached the boys SAR Sting to two championships, winning a boys JV title in 2014-2015 and the boys varsity title in 2017-2018.

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