Similar to their Monsignor Martin counterpart Nichols, the Orchard Park Quakers came into Monday intent on defending their Section VI crown. And like the team that took the ice before them earlier that day, they accomplished their goal.
The Quakers were able to repeat as sectional champions by defeating Clarence by a 4-1 score at the KeyBank Center on Monday – a game where for two periods nothing came easy for the team, but found a way to win in the third and final stanza of play.
“It feels really good,” forward Presley Schilitz said. “It’s really special because last year we won too, so now we’ve gone back-to-back.”
Goaltender Brayden Hearn agreed.
“We knew we were going to turn it on at some point,” Hearn said. “We just kept playing to our strengths and playing our system, and it paid off in the end for us.”
The Quakers’ first goal was scored by Jonah Reashnor midway through the first period, but the Red Devils answered right back when Daniel Sherry’s wrist shot found the back of the net. The score remained deadlocked at one apiece through the second period, but the third period was where Orchard Park’s fortunes began to turn.
Schilitz put his team up 2-1 off a rebound just 1:29 into the period and Logan Ward increased their lead to 3-1 off a snapshot that beat Clarence’s goaltender glove side a few minutes later. Carter Zakrzewski’s wrist shot then sealed the game – and the large school title – for Orchard Park.
The Quakers will face Pittsford in the NYSPHSAA state regional round and they’re feeling good about their chances beyond a sectional championship.
“Just looking at our competition, we saw that McQuaid and Victor have gotten knocked out and we’re pretty confident the way that we’re playing that we can get past any team right now,” Hearn said.
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