The New York State hockey finals returned to Buffalo for the second straight year. Eight teams and a legion of fans made the trip to WNY in hopes of leaving with the State championship.
On Friday after each team had settled into HarborCenter a banquet was held in honor of all players and coaches involved in the weekends match-up’s.
On Saturday morning the Division II semi-finals began with Section 1 Pelham taking on Brockport of Section V. The Pelicans won it all last year and were looking to repeat.
It didn’t take long either as Pelham steamrolled the Blue Devils 6-0. The Pelicans scored twice in the opening period and in the second, lit the lamp three more times.
Tucker Johnson earned the shutout, stopping all 19 Brockport shots. Ben Hurd led Pelham with 2 goals and had an assist on the game’s opening goal. Stephan Miklakos added three assists.
Game two featured the other Div II semi-final game Saturday with Beekmantown (VII) vs St. Lawrence (X). This ended exactly like the first. Luke Collins scored a hat-trick and an assist for the Larries as they trounced the Eagles 6-0. Andrew Lontry opened up the scoring with back-to-back power play goals just 44 seconds apart. St. Lawrence took a 2-0 lead into the 1st intermission and never looked back.
The Larries first 4 goals all came via the power play. Goaltender Rico Dimatteo made 20 saves for the shutout.
“We don’t have long to enjoy this we know but we’re all happy with the win” Collins said after the game. “Now it’s all about Pelham, we have to buckle down. We took way too many penalties and that’s been addressed.”
The stage has been set for the Div II championship, puck drop is 12 noon Sunday as the Pelham Pelicans (I) will take on the St. Lawrence Larries (X).
Williamsville North didn’t have to travel far his weekend. After travelling down to Camillus, NY last Saturday for Regionals. The Spartans had the luxury of sleeping in their own beds before taking on top seeded Mamaroneck (I) on Saturday afternoon.
They received an outstanding performance by senior goaltender Jacob Zurat in route to a 1-0 win over the Tigers. Zurat stopped all 13 shots thrown his way and none looked easy.
The Spartans put 24 on Tommy Spero, the Mamaroneck goaltender who was equally as good at his end. Only a deflected shot late in the first period found the mesh that proved to be the difference. Trevor Cavalier’s first ever varsity goal came at the perfect time. Linemate Joe Oliver threw a puck from the lower right-hand corner of the rink towards the goal and Cavalier had his stick in just the right spot.
Both teams penalty killing unit’s played extremely well as all 12 man advantages provided zero results.
Mamaroneck head coach Mike Chiapparelli in his 29th season was late arriving into WNY this weekend. He lost his Father-in-law earlier in the week. Coaching with a heavy heart for sure “Our guys left it all out there today” he said after the loss. “I couldn’t be prouder of them. They are taking this one hard.”
In the final tilt of the day, Massena (X) took on Pittsford (V) with the winner earning a date with Will North hanging in the balance.
In a tightly contested game The Panthers pulled out a 2-1 victory ending the Red Raiders dream season. Connor Haims broke the scoreless tie at 9:27 of the 1st period, giving Pittsford the 1 goal advantage. But the lead was short lived. Less than a minute later Cam Plourde’s shot beat Panthers goalie Will Hernes tying the game at one.
Andy Bronstein scored for the Panthers at 10:03 of the second period and that proved to be the difference.
Hernes made 18 saves for Pittsford while Red Raiders goaltender Nathan Moffitt made 30. Pittsford overwhelmed the younger Massena team that will have all but 4 players returning next season.
The Div I championship will be played Sunday at 3pm between Williamsville North (VI) and Pittsford (V).