Twelve different local high school teams hit the ice this past weekend at the KeyBank Center for the 33rd Annual High School Club and Federation Hockey Championships. Sunday saw the championships of the small, large and mixed schools on the Club League while Monday was reserved for the Federation League.
SUNDAY'S CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
WNY Club League Mixed School
Iroquois/Alden 6 - Dunkirk/Fredonia 1
The first game of Super Sunday saw the top two teams from the Mixed School Division competing against each other for the fourth time this season.
Iroquois/Alden (17-0-1-0) had taken all three prior meetings with Dunkirk/Fredonia (11-5-2-0) by a combined score of 14-6. The Chiefs had their only non-victory coming from a 2-2 tie against City Honors/O'Hara.
This matchup also featured two of the top three scorers in the league with Spencer Hrynczak (23+20) going against Michael Meredith (28+14).
The Chiefs jumped out in front early and never looked back. Iroquois/Alden pounced on the Steelers early by pouring on four goals in the first period.
Two of the first period goals came from senior forward Alex Held, who was named the game's MVP after finishing with two goals and two assists. Senior forwards Joe Russo and Dan Porzio added the other two first period tallies.
Dunkirk/Fredonia got on the board 15 seconds into the second period behind Chris Buchanan's 16th goal of the season. However, it was too late for the Steelers as the Chiefs added a goal later in the second and in the third to make up the final score of 6-1.
The victory marked the first club Super Sunday title for the Chiefs since 2012 and their sixth overall. Buchanan was named Dunkirk/Fredonia's MVP for the game.
WNY Club League Small School
St. Mary's 3 - Starpoint 1
The second matchup of the day was also the fourth meeting between two teams. St. Mary's (15-6-1-0) had gotten the best of Starpoint (10-8-0-3) in two out of their three previous meetings and were riding a four-game winning streak overall. Starpoint entered the contest on a three-game winning streak of their own.
After a back-and-forth first period that saw both teams held scoreless, sophomore forward Brendan Krawczyk broke the scoring open with his 14th goal of the season.
Starpoint's Brenden Dewey answered back three minutes later with a power-play goal to tie the game. Lucas Prince put the Lancers up for good when he was able to beat Josh Riggi late in the second period.
Despite having several scoring chances, the Spartans were unable to tie it up and an empty-net marker from Alex Bialkowski finished off Starpoint.
St. Mary's sophomore goaltender Kyle Karoleski was awarded MVP for his stellar play, allowing only one goal. Starpoint's Nick Surdej was named his team's MVP.
WNY Club League Large School
Canisius 2 - St. Joe's Maroon 1
Canisius and St. Joe's had each of their three prior matchups decided by one goal and Sunday's game would be no different. Benjamin Bailey of St. Joe's was able to put his squad up early in the first period by beating Mike Gagliano, but Canisius answered back in the second period courtesy of Kevin O'Leary.
After the next 19 minutes was filled with scoring opportunities for both teams, Patrick Donovan put home what would be the game-winning goal with 5:37 left in the third.
Even with the extra attacker and several chances, St. Joe's was unable to tie the game and Canisius went on to win their first title since 2013. Donovan, who also had an assist on the first goal for Canisius, was named the game's MVP.
MONDAY'S CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
Catholic School Championship
St. Joe's 4 - Canisius 0
For the second time in as many days, the Crusaders (7-6-3) and Marauders (13-1-2) met, this time in the Catholic School Championship. Monday's game went a bit differently than the day before, as St. Joe's was able to capitalize on power-play opportunities, putting them up early.
After scoring their first power-play goal, senior forward Jack Lalley again got the puck at the top of the faceoff circle and score on a shot that beat Canisius goaltender Ryan O'Donnell glove-side, to give the Marauders a 2-0 lead. Lalley would go on to be named the game MVP.
Senior forward Luke Pierce added another goal before the end of the second when senior defenseman Seth Glanowski threw a puck on net that Pierce tipped into the back of the cage. Glanowski put the final nail in the coffin when a shot from the point found the back of the net to give St. Joe's their final goal.
Canisius eventually buried one with 5:47 left in the period as defenseman Kevin Bennett got his stick on the puck during a scramble in the crease. The referees disallowed the goal, signifying how the day went for the Crusaders. The victory for St. Joe's was their third straight divisional title and 16th overall.
Large School Championship
Williamsville North 3 - Lancaster 2 (OT)
In what proved to be the most exciting game of the weekend, Williamsville North (12-4) took an extended route to the Large School Championship as they overcame a late goal by Lancaster (7-8-1) to take the sectional crown.
With 5.3 seconds left in the third period and the Legends trailing by one, a loose puck in the crease was put home by Lancaster senior forward Shawn Kross (his second of the game) as he banked it off of Jake Zurat's outstretched pad while he was falling to the ice to send the game to overtime.
While it looked like the Legends had gained all the momentum, the Spartans used the leadership and maturity of a team comprised of only juniors and seniors to regain their composure.
Just 26 seconds into the overtime period, Spartans senior forward Adam Batz came speeding down the right wing and snapped a shot that hit the far post. The puck bounced backwards and into Legends goaltender Justin Stoltz that trickled just over the goal line to give the Spartans the title.
Batz was named the game's MVP for his game-winning goal.
Small School Championship
West Seneca East 3 - Kenmore West 1
The last game of the High School Hockey Championships pitted the Trojans of West Seneca East (9-5-1) against the Blue Devils of Kenmore West (12-3-1). After the Blue Devils opened up the scoring, the Trojans roared back with three unanswered goals to capture their first sectional title.
The Blue Devils jumped out in front early on as senior forward Ben Serrano scored off of a rebound shot off of the far pad of Trojans' goaltender Jagger Maving early in the first period.
The Trojans tied it up with under a minute left in the period as Cameron Bauer raced down the left side of the ice, fought off a defender was able to beat Bogacki with a shot that was just above his shoulder.
With the game tied 1-1, Tyler Arndt scored off of a rebound when Blue Devils goaltender Matt Bogacki lost control of a shot off his chest. Arndt added an empty netter with under a minute to go to seal the game. He was named the game's MVP.