Leading off today:
After struggling for the better part of two periods, Victor rallied
for a 4-2 victory over Massena in the NYSPHSAA boys Division I hockey semifinals Saturday at HarborCenter in Buffalo.
Victor overcame a 2-0 deficit with goals by Evan Millspaugh, Josh Albert, and Lukas Miller, and then Sam Lambert iced the game with an empty-netter. Mitch Rydzynski chipped in with a pair of assists.
Logan Chilton and Nicholas Linstad has staked Massena to a 2-0 lead and Victor was having trouble putting so much as a shot on goal on power plays.
And then Albert and Miller scored 1:58 apart early -- the latter off a rebound during a two-man-up power play -- in the third period for a 3-2 lead that goaltender Chayse Ierlan protected the rest of the way.
"It shows we're resilient, and that we're always going to finish strong, no matter what the game," Ierlan told the Democrat and Chronicle. "We finished strong all year, so I just think it's our resiliency and I hope it continues tomorrow."
Victor (21-0-4) plays for its first hockey championship Sunday vs. Niagara-Wheatfield.
A difficult 72 hours: Niagara-Wheatfield's players and supporters had a lot more on its collective mind than the Division I semifinal vs. North Rockland.
N-W student Michael Ziegler, a three-sport athlete died Wednesday, and the community held a candlelight vigil outside the school Friday night. The hockey team honored him with helmet stickers with the initials MZ.
"Honestly it's an emotional experience," senior forward Nick Peters said after N-W's 4-0 victory to reach Sunday's final. "Everything our community is going through right now, to get this win means more than just a game right now."
Peters staked N-W to a 1-0 lead with 1:17 left in the first period. Chace Woods passed to Zach Belter, who took a shot near the offside line. Peters deflected it home for a power-play goal.
Early in the second period, Nick Breier took a pass from Woods up the ice and had a 1-on-1 with North Rockland goalie Angelo Zodda. Breier deked twice and pushed the puck home for a 2-0 lead.
Twenty-five seconds later, Michael Lotempio made it 3-0.
"When that happens you go two ways," coach Rick Wrazin said. "Partly you're thinking we're just going to roll over and keep them coming, and partly you're thinking don't let our guys get too high and trying to press for goals and stretch just because you can."
N-W goalie Peyton Siegmann posted the shutout.
An all-Section 6 final: The Division II hockey final will feature two Section 6 schools for the first time after West Seneca West and Sweet Home won their semifinals.
West Seneca West goalie Noah Sobczyk shut the door in the Indians' 3-0 win vs. John Jay Cross River, while Tyler Edholm scored three goals in Sweet Home's 6-4 triumph against Auburn.
West Seneca West scored a 2-1 victory over Sweet Home for the Section 6 championship Feb. 26.
"This is our best-case scenario by far," Sweet Home goalie Michael Lisman said. "Going to a game that we know the team, we won't be confused about what we're about to get into."
Sweet Home's Daniel Lund scored with :45 left in the second period to forge a 2-2 tie with Auburn. The third period then belonged to Edholm, who broke team marks for points