This past weekend the Batavia Rampart Squirt B hockey team played for the Division Championship at the Webster Ice Arena. In a hard faught battle they ended up being defeated by TCYH. The game was the culmination of a very succesful league season for the Rampart team. The events of the day, which included all of the hoopla that would be expected in a championship game were a great thrill for this group of 9 and 10 year old boys and girls. It was a tremendous accomplishment to be one of only two remaining teams, with the hopes of capturing the league crown. With league games now complete the Squirt B team sets their sights on capturing a trophy in the Rochester Rumble tournament on the weekend of March 8-10.
Zack Biegasiewicz, Nick Call, Colin Crane, Jocelyn Cryer, Derrick Fedus, Benjamin Lemley, Connor McNiel, Riley Pankow, Dylan Pehrson, Landin Pizzi, Jenna Sniesko(G), and Michael Stoll. Head Coach: Rich Biegasiewicz Assistant coaches: Pat Fedus and Kevin Sniesko Manager: Stephanie Call
Twenty-four boys and girls ages 4-9 came out for a 'Try Hockey' event today at Falleti Ice Arena. The free event gave kids a chance to skate around, hit pucks with sticks and learn a little about the game.
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).
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.
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.
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.