SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Adirondack United head coach Jeff Willis set a simple goal for his team in its’ inaugural season: win one game. That goal was fulfilled after the team’s season opener. One win turned into 17 wins, and now Adirondack United has reset its’ sights on a new goal: a state title.

“Right now we’re living a dream,” said Willis after Adirondack’s 5-1 win in Thursday night’s Sec. VII championship game against Franklin Academy. “I was hoping for one win when we started the season, and now we’re on the cusp of a regional game. It’s huge for a first-year program.”

The United have clearly come a long way since that Nov. 23 overtime victory against Skaneateles. Sec. II’s first high school girls hockey team – comprised of students-athletes from Saratoga Springs, Glens Falls, South Glens Falls, Hudson Falls, Queensbury, and Corinth – has gone from simply filling a void for girls hockey players in the Capital Region, to taking the New York State high school girls hockey scene by storm.

After a 15-1 regular season, Adirondack cliched the No. 1 overall seed in the Sec. VII playoff tournament – considering there were no other teams in Sec. II – and cruised in its’ postseason debut, blanking Saranac-Lake Placid 10-0 in the semi-finals at home on Tuesday.

That set the team up for a chance to claim a sectional championship in its’ first year of competition; they just had to get through two-seeded Franklin Academy at the Saranac Lake Civic Center to do it.

But the Huskies were smelling an upset early. Senior forward Olivia Cook fed fellow senior forward Vail St. Hilaire a pass right in front of Adirondack’s crease, and St. Hilaire converted from point-blank range, giving Franklin the 1-0 edge.

The Huskies would take that lead into the locker room after the first period, but Adirondack responded out of the break with a flourish.

Queensbury junior forward Bayley Duffy tallied back-to-back goals in the second period – one of which was a top-shelf snipe from the point – giving Adirondack a 2-1 advantage.

Later in the period, Duffy was putting in her bid for a hat trick, and unleashed another slapshot from just outside the right face-off circle. This time, it was blocked from Franklin Academy’s goalkeeper, seventh grader Reaghan Marlow, but Adirondack’s Gianna Marcantonio collected the carom. The Queensbury freshman delivered a rebound goal to extend the lead to 3-1.

The United added two more goals in the third period, and rolled to the 5-1 victory, claiming the program’s first-ever section championship.

Willis recalled the message he gave his team after the first period that led to three unanswered goals in quick succession.

“”Stick to what we know, and eventually, if we keep doing the things we’re good at, we’ll break through,”” said Willis. “And then, real quickly we broke through. Then, we got another one. All of a sudden, it started to snowball, and their confidence built; and we just took off from there.

Duffy, who’s now registered four goals this postseason, relishes what her team was able to accomplish by winning a section title. But she knows the work’s not done yet.

“It means a lot,” said Duffy. “We’re all super excited to take this journey down, and try to make it to States. It was another step along our road. So, now that we’ve moved on, we have another game against East Green Wave. And if we can put that away, I’d say we have a good shot at a state title.”

As Duffy alluded to, Adirondack will now prepare for a regional matchup Monday with East Green Wave, the Sec. I champion. Puck drop from Ice Time Sports Complex in Newburgh is set for 5:45 p.m. With a win, Adirondack would advance to the state semi-finals.