Before the hockey season could come to an end in WNY, the top high school juniors, seniors and prep school hockey players in Buffalo and Rochester came to the Key Bank Center Wednesday night to play in the 2017 Bowman Cup Showcase. Buffalo and Rochester spilt the first two games of the evening and Team Hasek won the night cap.
Tim Horton Memorial Cup (Juniors)
Rochester got a two-goal lead and never looked back as they beat Buffalo 3-1 in the first game of the evening.
Mitch Rydzynski (Victor) slipped the puck in the net to open the scoring. A minute later, Phillip Barilla (Irondequoit) found fellow Eagle David Regan to give Rochester the 2-0 lead, 6:44 into the first. The Rochester juniors took the lead into the half.
The Buffalo juniors got some momentum after Andrew Ebersol (Penfield) went to the box for slashing. Buffalo took advantage as the Williamsville line scored. Brett Sardina (Williamsville North) knocked one in on the power play just 1:36 into the half. Andrew Bruno (Williamsville North) and Zach Rehbaum (Williamsville South) assisted on the goal.
Playing on the same line Wednesday night was a bit of nostalgia for the trio. Sardina, Bruno and Rehbaum played on the same team in the Amherst Youth Hockey Association growing up.
“It was fun to play with Bruno, Sardina and (Anthony) Trigillio,” Rehbaum said. “That was my favorite part the experience.”
“It’s fun to get back together and play hockey,” Sardina said.
The Buffalo juniors used the momentum from the goal and kept on fighting. Late in the half, Buffalo had a 5-on-3 Power play opportunity but could not convert.
Carson Fotheringham (Athena/Odyssey) scored on the empty net to seal it for Rochester.
Ben Shotwell (Lew-Port), Ben Weppner (St. Joe’s) and Jason Lupp (Grand Island) were in net for Buffalo.
Williamsville North head coach Bob Rosen, who won the State Championship earlier this month, was the head coach of the Buffalo junior team. John McFall of Hamburg and Robert Roszak of Kenmore West served as assistant coaches.
Scotty Bowman Cup (Seniors)
The Buffalo seniors showed early and often they were the better team on the ice in the second game of the night as they routed the Rochester seniors 5-1.
Mike Steffan (Williamsville East) found Chris Blachowski (Lancaster) on a 2-on-1 breakaway to give Buffalo the 1-0 lead. Buffalo kept the pressure on as Jason Delmont put home the loose puck in front of the net. Jack Lalley (St. Joe’s) was credited with an assist on the goal. The Buffalo seniors took the 2-0 lead to the half.
Rochester got on the board as Alec DeYoung (Schroeder) took a shot from the point that found its way through. Buffalo answered back 30 seconds later as Shawn Kross scored off a pass from Lalley with 13:30 left in the second.
Hamburg goalie Griffin Cappola made some big saves in the second half to help keep Buffalo on top.
Steffan got a breakaway of his own and put one 5-hole to give Buffalo the 4-1 lead. Zach Biasillo (Orchard Park) put one in off the assist from Dominic Khoury (West Seneca East) for Buffalo’s fifth and final goal.
Tom Held (Orchard Park) and Jake Zurat (Williamsville North) were also in net for Buffalo.
Zurat will be hanging up the skates for good as he will be playing D-I baseball for the University at Buffalo next spring. The goalie has a lot of great memories to look back on from his hockey career.
“To go out on top being sectional champs, state champs and now Bowman champs is a special feeling,” Zurat said. “To see it end now is bitter sweet.”
St. Joe’s head coach Rich Crozier, who had just come off winning back-to-back Catholic State Championships, was the head coach for the Buffalo senior team. Lancaster’s Kevin Miller and West Seneca East’s Phil Prynn served as assistants.
Rick Martin Memorial Cup (Prep/Juniors)
Team Hasek defeated Team Perreault 5-0 in the final game of the showcase. The game featured prep and junior hockey players that are from the Buffalo and Rochester area.
Erick Urbank of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres 20U team had two goals in the win.
Hamburg forward Neil Dake (Buffalo Regals) returned to his normal position at goalie for Team Perreault.
Team Hasek was coached by former Sabre Cody McCormick and Team Perreault was coached by former Sabre Pat Kaleta.