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Sunday, March 11, 2018: Victor rallies to reach hockey championship game

   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

(58) and goals (33) in a season.

   Edholm scored twice in the first eight minutes to give the Panthers a 4-2 lead. Auburn's Brendan Williams tallied with 6:17 left, but Edholm scored his third to restore the two-goal margin a minute later.

   Auburn scored on a power play with 1:41 left, but the Panthers closed it out with an empty-netter.

   West Seneca West's Sobczyk made 24 saves in the shutout performance against John Jay.

   "Lights out," WSW coach Kevin Rozo said. "He was outstanding. Something happened. The flip switched in early February and he has just absolutely been on a tear."

   Tyler Dunning scored the first goal on a wrist shot midway through the second period. Matt Myers made it 2-0 early in the third, and Colin Deubell made it 3-0 with 8:27 left.

   NYSPHSAA bowling: AuSable Valley (Division II boys) and Cheektowaga (D-II girls) earned team championships at OnCenter in Syracuse in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association bowling championships, which expanded to two divisions for the first time.

   The Cheektowaga girls finished with 5,116 pins to top second-place Lansingburgh by 208 and Newark by 289. The AuSable boys edged Lansingburgh 5,025-4,990, with Norwich third at 4,829.

   Emily Crone had the top score in the girls field with 1,297 pins for a 216.2 average. Katie Lynch of Lansingburgh was second at 1,203. Lynch rolled a 247 for the day's high game.

   The AuSable Valley boys duo of Ryan Thomas and Tyler Atkins finished one-two at 1,146 and 1,129, respectively. Braedon Suffoletta of Maryvale posted a 248 for high-game honors.

   In the section competition, Anthony Cioffi of North Babylon was the boys winner with a 1,267 block. Girls honors went to Megan Guernsey of Fulton with an 1,148 mark for six games.

   The Division I team competition is being held Sunday.

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