Nichols' netminder Jada Brenon literally became a goalie through trial by fire.
"Grew up on an all boys team and they needed someone to get in the net, so of course they put the girl in," she joked.
While the junior admits there were some growing pains, she had plenty of encouragement along the way.
"I was pretty young back then, my mom had to help me persevere through the tough times," she said. "I was probably around 7 or 8. It was scary the first time, I didn't really enjoy it at first, but you grow to love it. I love it every day."
Since those early years, Jada has morphed into one of the premiere goalies in Western New York.
"It takes a different kid to get the puck shot at them, but you know, you look around the locker room and see the players getting ready you just have to do your job and hope they do theirs," the goalie said.
That mentality has translated into success. In six games this season, Jada has recorded four shutouts earning her the nickname "brick wall" from her teammates. She even has few bricks on her helmet in honor of the moniker.
"You know, they always say goalies are a little different and I think to an extent they have to be," Head Coach Shelley Looney said. "But, she's really a normal kid on the outside, but when she gets in the net she's that fearless person where if the puck comes toward her head, she's going to stick it out in front instead of ducking it."
Whether it is a routine save or a scramble in the chaos, there is never a doubt Jada will get the job done.
"It's kind of a coach's dream to have a goalie like Jada in the net," Looney added. "Reliable but relentless. We've had some tough competition and I just like it because the next day she's in there and ready to go."
"I think there's been a couple moments where I thought the puck found the back of the net and after the group clears, she has the puck underneath her. it's a pleasant surprise, but the best thing is, she's not surprised. She's confidence and she knows that she had it and I can continue to breath again."
"I dreamed that I would turn out to be an okay goalie," Jada said. "I'm getting better every day and I'm never to the point where I want to be. I always want to be better."
So far, she's been extremely good.
SUPER 7 COUNTDOWN
#1 - Jade Brenon - Nichols Hockey
The junior netminder has recorded four shutouts this season for the Vikings.
#2 - Jayce Johnson & Zeke Margaritis - Canisius Football
Led the Crusaders on a game-winning 90-yard drive and threw the game-winning touchdown with 12 seconds left to Zeke Margaritis to lift Canisius past Cardinal Hayes for the Catholic State Championship. The Crusaders have won two titles in the last three years.
“Zeke is one of the top receives in the state and he showed off his skills, making a clutch catch to win our team a state championship.” - Rich Robbins, Head Coach
“Jayce is a dual-threat who made the big plays when the team needed him, especially in the game’s final drive marching the team 93 yards for the winning score.” – Rich Robbins, Head Coach
#3 - Lauryn Brown - West Seneca Hockey
Only an 8th grader, she recorded her first career shutout in her first varsity start, stopping all 20-shots she faced in a 5-0 win over Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew.
“In her first full Varsity game had 20 saves for a shutout. Lauryn's performance also gave the team its first victory of the season. Eden joined up with West Seneca/Hamburg this season, so Lauryn's special performance will always be remembered as the Eden Girls Varsity Ice Hockey first victory ever.” – Brian Hillery, Head Coach
#4 - Chad Biersbach - Depew Basketball
Scored 43 set in the Wildcats 61-55 win over Niagara Catholic at the Cataract Classic.
"Steady output each quarter - if possible , it was a quiet 43. All shots were within the flow of the offense, we didn't run anything special to get him the ball more often. He really had a great night." – Larry Jones, Head Coach
#5 - Cassidy Slocum - Holland Basketball
Scored 14 points in Holland's 31-26 win over Pioneer.
"Cassidy is a dynamic player on both the offense and defensive ends of the floor. Her athletic ability combined with her basketball knowledge and individual effort will be essential to Holland's success." – Dan Parker, Head Coach
#6 - Chris Blachowski - Lancaster Hockey
Scored two goals in the Legends 4-2 win over Williamsville North.
“Chris is an extremely talented skater that has good hockey sense, puck handling skills, and a gift of finishing when trying to score goals. He scored two goals verse Williamsville North with the help of his two line mates Shawn Kross and Jeff Coons.” – Kevin Miller, Head Coach
#7 - Nia Caver - Tapestry Basketball
Scored 20 points in Tapestry's first win of the season, a 62-12 victory over Maritime Academy.
"Great all around player both offense and defense she can do everything and makes the other girls around her better." - Fran Snyder, Head Coach