The West Seneca East Trojans (WSE) have been the class of the field in Section VI Federation hockey Division II for much of the 2017-18 season. Heading into Friday night’s game against crosstown rivals West Seneca West (WSW), the Trojans were riding a five game win streak. The Indians snapped that by defeating WSE 8-3 in front of a packed West Seneca Town Rink.
It was the second time WSW has been able to do that this year, having beaten the Trojans back on January 15th at HarborCenter by a score of 4-2. The Indians were considered the home team and were looking for a quick start.
“Our guys were ready for this one, we’ve been waiting for it,” Indians coach Kevin Rozo said. “The quick start was key for us. It gave our goalie some confidence and calmed their nerves a bit.” Jason Wojciechowski scored just five minutes into the game to give WSW an early 1-0 lead.
The Trojans came right back and had a scoring chance of their own when Colin Schmatz found himself alone in front of the Indians net. The forward tried to beat goalie Noah Sobczyk low glove side but was denied. Moments later WSW added another goal, Kyle Haettich working behind the WSE goal sent a backhanded pass to Matt Myers who beat Jagger Maving to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
It was Myers second goal of the season.
Adding insult to injury, the Indians went on the power play at the 4:11 mark of the first period. Maving came up with two quality saves to keep the Trojans in the game, but just after time expired on the penalty, the Indians knocked home the game’s third goal. This time sophomore Billy Coughlin did the damage.
WSW outshot the Trojans 13-6 after one period.
WSE’s Adam Stradtman who was playing in just his 11th game this season scored the Trojans first goal of the game at 12:18 of the second period.
Soon after WSE found themselves with a two-man advantage thanks to back-to-back minor penalties.
The Indians were called for a bench minor (too many men) and then a kneeing call almost a minute later. The Trojans came into Friday’s game leading the division with 62 goals scored so spotting them a two man advantage didn’t end well but it could have been much worse.
Drew Werner had the first scoring chance while on the power play but Sobczyk robbed the senior forward with a nice glove save. The Trojans continued to buzz around deep in Indians territory and were rewarded for their persistence. While crashing the net Tyler Arndt found a loose puck and buried it into the WSW goal to make it a 3-2 hockey game.
The Indians however did not panic. They tightened up the defense and made sure the Trojans did not get any more quality shots, allowing Sobzcyk to see any shots heading his way.
Coughlin and Jacob Fort added late second period goals to extend the Indians lead 5-2 after two periods.
— Frank Wolf (@wolf3328) February 9, 2018
In the third period Sobczyk really shined. WSE had four shots from within close range and were unable to beat the junior goalie. The Trojans threw over 30 shots on goal with half of them coming in the final period.
The goal of the night though came off the stick of Trojans forward Danny Flynn. The senior split the defense and deked out Sobczyk for WSE’s third goal of the game.
WSW responded quickly as Coughlin added his third of the night before Colin Deubell and Myers capped off the 8-3 rout.
“That was probably one of the greatest games of my life,” Coughlin said afterwards. The 10th grader had just three goals heading into the WSE game. “We knew what we were capable of and Soby was great in net tonight,” Myers said after the win. It was “Senior Night” and the forward who is heading to the University of Buffalo on a football scholarship next year is enjoying his last year of hockey.
“I just stay prepared and try to remain focused,” Sobczyk said after his 30 save performance.
Fort a senior defenseman picked up two assists in addition to his goal now has 22 points on the season leading the way for the Indians. “It’s just straight carnage whenever we play them,” Fort said. “Our coaches did a good job keeping everyone in check.”
When attending these games in the past there are always memories of the movie Slapshot playing in my mind and heading into West Seneca Friday I was hoping not to see any shenanigans. These are two really good teams with as good a shot as any other to represent Section VI in the small school finals. But neither team can afford to lose any players to suspension.
Late in the third period there was some over aggressive play and a double minor was called on one of the WSE players. Coach Phil Prynn sent the player to the locker room instead of having him serve the penalties on the box. “No sense sitting there getting madder and madder, it’s a highly emotional game and we need everybody down the stretch.”
“We do have the top spot for the playoffs. We definitely wanted this one but it just didn’t work out. As a team we need to raise our game a bit, we’ve been in a lot of one goal games as of late so we need to clean up a few things,” Prynn said.
The Indians will face Williamsville East Saturday and need one point to secure the No. 3 seed in the Section VI playoffs.