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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Boys Fed Hockey: Large School Playoff Preview

The WNY Federation Boys Hockey Large School division playoffs begin Saturday morning at the Northtown Center. Four games are on the schedule with Williamsville North and Niagara Falls kicking things off bright and early.

DATERINKTIMEHOME

VISITOR

2/17/2018NTC930(1) Williamsville North

(8) Niagara Falls

2/17/2018NTC1130(2) Niagara Wheatfield

(7) Lockport

2/17/2018NTC130(3) Orchard Park

(6) Clarence

2/17/2018NTC330(4) Lancaster

(5) Frontier

The Contenders

Williamsville North and Niagara Wheatfield. I’m not sure if there are two more evenly matched teams in the large school division. The Spartans (like St. Joe’s) have had a big target on their backs for years. Everybody team in the Fed is always looking to knock them off, that’s what happens when you win and Williamsville North wins, consistently.

Not too long ago though the Falcons were in the driver’s seat. Coach Wrazin has been through the wars and this team he has put together has all of the tools to unseat last year’s State champion Spartans.

In their two regular season match-up’s the Spartans picked up the only victory, 3-2 winners back on Jan. 11th. The first round ended in a 2-2 tie.

There are no guarantees that they will face each other for a third time this season but all signs are pointing to round three.

Goaltending and defense is Niagara Wheatfield’s bread and butter this year. The Falcons have two great netminders in Peyton Siegmann (7-1-2) and Dylan Woods (4-1-1). The blue line is led by Zack Belter, a tough, physical senior and standout lacrosse player.  Belter also led defenseman in scoring (3-6-9). Along with juniors Cam King, Caleb Lee and sophomore Ben Foster, the Falcons have the tools to combat Will North’s big guns.

Andrew Bruno, Brett Sardinia and Matt Bielinski have been unstoppable. Throw in Anthony Triglio and call it a day for opposing teams. North has the experience having won last season.

“There are no easy games here in D-I,” Spartans coach Bob Rosen said. “In a single-elimination game, you can’t have a bad shift or period. You have to be ready to outwork the other team.”

Dark Horses

Lancaster, Clarence and Orchard Park didn’t sign up to get trounced.

The Legends ended the season on a four game losing streak. It’s was a rebuilding year of sorts after making a memorable run last year to the Key Bank Center. They’ll need to clean up things in their own end quickly if they are going to make another run this post-season.

The Red Devils are in the same position. With nine seniors on the team, it’s do or die time for Clarence.

Orchard Park was the team many thought would take two steps back this season. As the regular season came to a close the Quakers began turning some heads. They gutted out a tie with Niagara Wheatfield 3-3 at the start of February and then handed Williamsville North their first and only Fed loss of the season, 4-3 in OT the very next night. Orchard Park would like nothing more than to erase their playoff demons from last year and come out Sunday with a win over sixth seeded Clarence.

The Underdogs

Frontier and Niagara Falls combined for three wins this year in Fed. The Falcons and Wolverines were outscored 44-182 in league games. It would take a miracle for Niagara Falls to take down Williamsville North, but like Coach Rosen says, there are no easy games.

I would not be shocked to see Frontier beat Lancaster. The Falcons beat the Legends 6-3 in their first meeting and hung tight in their last game on Jan. 22nd, losing 4-2.

Outlook

You read my mind. I like Williamsville North and Niagara Wheatfield to meet up at Key Bank Center Feb 27th.

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