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Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 2:51 am

Photos: Hockey on homemade rink in Pembroke

post by Howard B. Owens in hockey, pembroke, sports

Claire Pfalzer describes her husband Andrew as "hockey crazy." For the past six years, he's had his own ice rink next to their home on Sliker Road in Pembroke.

Last year, it was cold enough to use the rink for only five or six days all winter.

This year's cold snap was well timed to allow the Pfalzers to invite all of their friends over for a daylong skate on Andrew's birthday. Andrew even has lights installed above the rink so the sun going down doesn't mean the end of hockey.

To purchase prints: These photos along with some others from the ice rink today (along with other Saturday photos) are in this gallery (click here).

Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Alexander and Batavia will skate together in 2012 as Ice Devils

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, alexander, hockey, sports

Alexander High School has never had a hockey team, but starting this season, players there will get to play varsity level hockey for the first time.

Batavia HS is facing a shortage of varsity level players this year, so Alexander and Batavia will come together to form the Batavia/Alexander Ice Devils.

Batavia Athletic Director Mike Bromley said when school officials realized there would be a shortage of players this year, the school held a meeting with the parents of hockey players and the parents took the initiative to get the puck rolling on a possible merger with Alexander.

Once the idea was raised, things came together pretty quickly, Bromley said.

"Several students (in Alexander) expressed an interest," Bromley said. "We expect that anywhere from five to 10 students may try out."

The problem the Ice Devils faced, Bromley said, is that several seniors graduated after last season and then three varsity players elected to play in another, more advanced, hockey league.

That left Batavia not only with fewer players but also with a team of mostly ninth- and 10th-graders.

"There's a lot of hitting in hockey," Bromley said. "Hockey can be just as tough physically as football, but where you play only one game a week in football, with hockey sometimes you play two or three games a week, and trying to play ninth- and 10th-graders out there could be tough."

For Alexander, the opportunity is welcome by administrators, parents and players alike, said Athletic Director Ben Whitmore.

"All of these kids play together in youth leagues and they always dreamed of playing high school hockey, so to be able to give them that chance is very exciting," Whitmore said.

Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Photos: Pellegrino's takes men's league hockey championship

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, hockey, sports

The Pellegrino Auto Sales White Lightning are the 2012 Batavia Men's Hockey League champions after beating the Alabama Hotel Ducks this morning, 6-3.

Goalie Scott Fauth was the game's MVP.

To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Five Genesee County hockey players picked to play in Bowman Cup games

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, hockey, Notre Dame, sports

Genesee County will be well represented in the 8th Annual Scotty Bowman Showcase, a hockey tournament sponsored by the Buffalo Sabres, with five local players making the junior and senior squads.

Named to the teams are three players from Notre Dame High School-- Zach Blew, Tyler Kessler and Brett Perfitt -- and two from Batavia HS -- Tom Grammatico and Josh Marr.

The games will be played March 20 at First Niagara Center. Tickets for the event are $5.

The first game begins at 6 p.m. and pits all-star squads from Buffalo and Rochester made up of players in their junior year of high school.

The senior game is at 7:30 p.m. and the winner of that match will be awarded the Bowman Cup. Buffalo has a 6-1 advantage in the tournament.

All five Batavia-area players will be on the Rochester teams.

Scotty Bowman, a former head coach, notched more NHL wins than any coach in history. The coach will be on hand to present the Bowman Cup to the winning team.

Notre Dame Head Coach was also named a Bowman team coach.

Monday, February 27, 2012 at 2:04 am

Smart play propels Notre Dame to Class B Section V title in hockey

post by Howard B. Owens in hockey, Notre Dame, sports

Playing a number-two seed with a reputation for getting physical and skating fast, Notre Dame Head Coach Marc Staley had a plan: Bottle up the neutral zone and force Churchville-Chili to pass.

"We forced them to dump the puck," Staley said. "They don’t want to dump the puck and grind it out. They want to score on the rush and use their speed. We took their speed out of it."

For three periods, the eight-seeded Fighting Irish skated as a team, and when they got power play opportunities in the third period, they made the most of it, turning a 1-1 tie into a 4-2 victory and a Class B Section V crown.

Josh Johnston scored all three third-period goals, giving him seven total for the post-season, and securing the game's MVP trophy.

"We came in thinking, 'we’re not the underdogs,' " Johnston said. "Clearly, seeding-wise we were, but we just stuck together as a family and played together as hard as we could."

Three post-season wins have moved the once break-even Irish to 11-8-3 and a chance to play for a regional title.

"Nobody thought much of us three or four weeks ago, but we pulled this thing together," Staley said. "As we put one good game against another good game against another good game, these kids feel like a completely different team than they did three weeks ago. I’ve seen that transformation and it’s been very special to be a part of it."

The first goal in the game for Notre Dame came with 1:11 left in the second period on a shot by Zack Blew to tie the score at 1-1.

Johnston scored on a power play at 7:47 in the final period. Seconds after the next faceoff, Johnson scored again to make the score 3-1.

The nail in the coffin for the Saints (16-4-3) came with under two minutes left in the game, only 13 seconds after Churchville-Chili pulled into a point of a tie on a goal by Dan Kuter.

Tyler Kessler zipped a pass to Johnston who was skating just ahead of his defender giving him a one-on-one match with goalie Dylan Niewiemski.

Johnston faked to his left, and then flipped the puck from his right past the outstretched glove of Niewiemski, giving Johnston the hat trick and putting the game pretty much out of reach with time quickly winding down.

"We've been practicing that blow-out play," Staley said. "We always like to run this play right after a big emotional play because you tend to have a let down. They scored that one goal, we called that play, Kessler picks it up, hits Hosh and we go right back after them.

"Sometimes the best defense is to throw another punch," Staley added.

If you're unable to view the slide show below, click here.

To purchase prints of any of these photos, click here.

Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Notre Dame beats Churchville in Section V finals

post by Billie Owens in hockey, Notre Dame, sports

The Fighting Irish won! The Notre Dame Boys Hockey Team beat Churchville this afternoon 4 to 2 to nab the Section V championship. Josh Johnston scored three goals.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Notre Dame hockey team wins Section V semi-final

post by Howard B. Owens in hockey, Notre Dame, sports

The Fighting Irish just won their semi-final hockey game, played at Monroe Community College, against Irondequoit by a score of 2-1.

Mason Versage shot the game-winning goal at 5:36 in overtime.

We're expecting to have a few pictures and more information available later, hopefully tonight.

UPDATE 11:32 p.m.: Received a message from Coach Marc Staley. This is the third time in 20 years Notre Dame hockey advances to the Section V title game, which will be at 1 p.m. Sunday at RIT against Churchville-Chili.  This will be the first time in Section V hockey history that the #8 seed has made it to the finals. "Cinderella still has the slippers on!" Staley said.

UPDATE 11:52 p.m.: Photo added, Versage scores the winning goal. Photo by Bare Antolos.

Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 8:56 am

Notre Dame upsets Brockport to move to next round in Section V hockey playoffs

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, hockey, Notre Dame, sports

(Second and fourth photos above by Bare Antolos)

The Brockport Blue Devils Ice Hockey Team came into the Section V playoffs as the number-one seed, and were stunned Saturday night in an overtime loss to number-eight seed, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

So stunned, that as Irish players skated toward the victory celebration one Brockport player gave a Notre Dame player a shove and another started yelling and gesturing toward cheering Le Roy fans.

"I think I'm about one of 30 people in the world that's not surprised by this (victory)," said Coach Marc Staley after the game. "In the playoffs, it's all about momentum and we've really been building the past three or four weeks with this team."

Josh Johnston, who had two goals in the night, slipped passed defenders with a pass from Mason Versage and flipped the puck over the glove of Brockport's goalie Justin Keene at 1:03 into overtime to give Norte Dame (9-8-3-1) a 4-3 victory.

Brockport (16-3-2) jumped to a quick 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Carlos Ross and Tyler Hill, but Notre Dame also scored two first-period goals, one by Johnston and the second by Versage on a penalty shot.

"This is the fifth time this season we’ve come back from a two-goal deficit, so the kids didn’t panic," Staley said. "I’m very proud of them for that. We just went about the game plan."

Brockport took the lead at 3-2 in the second period, but Notre Dame continued to skate tough and held the Blue Devils in check until Zach Blew managed to tap in a goal at 8:15 left in the third period to tie the score and set the stage for overtime.

"We played better as team and ran our systems better in the game than they did," Staley said. "That ultimately was the difference."

Being number one seed kind of worked against Brockport, Staley suggested.

"They were off for 10 days," Staley said. "They got a bye and sometimes that hurts you. You get a little flat. I think we took advantage of that layoff they had tonight."

This isn't the first time Notre Dame has entered the playoffs as the number-eight seed and still managed an upset victory.

"The last time Notre Dame was the eight seed was five years ago and we upset Canandaigua, which was the number-one seed at the time," Staley said. "We’re developing a little bit of a reputation as a giant killer."

Next up for Notre Dame, number-five seed Irondequoit, who beat the four seed, Canandaigua, on Friday, 6-4.

The hopes of a Batavia vs. Notre Dame final were dashed in Webster last night when the Blue Devils dropped their playoff game to Webster, 2-0.

If you have difficulty viewing the slide show below, click here.

To purchase prints of the photos in the slide show, click here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Sabres game in Germany has Batavia connection

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, hockey, sports
Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Ramparts drop championship game 3-0

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Ramparts, hockey, sports

Connecticut got a chip shot 40 seconds into the championship game in Portland, Maine, this afternoon and the Batavia Ramparts spent nearly all of three periods chasing the lead.

The Ramparts lost 3-0.

Goal two for Connecticut was a rebound off the goalie, said coach John Zola.

Goal three came on an empty net play at the end of the game.

"Everyone played their heart out," Zola said. "Both teams played very, very hard."

The coach said he doesn't believe a Batavia team has ever advanced as far as the Ramparts did this season. At the age level of the Ramparts, the northeast regional championship would have been as far as they could have advanced.

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