Niagara Wheatfield 3, Clarence 0
The first step to being a good hockey team is believing you can be a good hockey team.
Niagara Wheatfield gave up five-straight goals in Friday night’s loss to Williamsville North and were in dire need of a pick-me-up.
Saturday, the Falcons got the boost of confidence they needed by blanking the Clarence Red Devils 3-0.
“The way you bounce back from a game like that is a game like this,” Niagara Wheatfield coach Rick Wrazin said. “To come back and play a structurally sound game like this is huge.”
Wrazin credited the third period of Friday night’s game, in which the Falcons outscored the Spartans 3-0, as propelling them into their matchup with the Red Devils.
“I think the third period Friday night woke them up a little bit,” Wrazin continued. “We’ve been struggling with confidence. It let the players know they can play with anybody. They’re starting to see the results.”
Ben Shapiro converted a breakaway chance to put the Falcons on the board less than two minutes into the game.
A few minutes later, Austin Durandetto found Ben Foster to give Wheatfield a two-goal lead going into the first intermission.
N-W converted a power play opportunity as Anthony Delisanti hit the back of the net with two minutes left in the second period.
Goaltender Kevin Bainbridge had the 31-save shutout for Niagara Wheatfield.
The Falcons come into 2018-19 as the defending Large School sectional champs and state runner-up. While much of last year’s core is gone, captain Chris Caccitore insists that Niagara-Wheatfield remains committed to contending for titles this season.
“The goal is always the same but the team is always different,” said Caccitore, who leads the team with nine points. “We have different roles and ways we play. We don’t try and play like anyone else prior. The goal is always a state championship.”
West Seneca West 4, North Tonawanda 1
The Indians rebounded from Friday’s loss to Hamburg by scoring three unanswered goals on Saturday in a win over the Lumberjacks. A total of seven West Seneca West players participated in the four goals. West netminder Noah Sobczyk stopped 28 of 29 shots.
Michael Flury, Griffin Finnegan, Cameron Cswaykus and Kyle Haettich all scored for the Indians.
Josh Elinski had the lone goal for NT. Lumberjack goalie Alex Wagner made 59 saves.
St. Mary’s 4, St. Francis 2
The Lancers overcame a two-goal deficit as Alex Miller had a pair of goals while Dan Pfalzer and Chris Henry each scored as well.
Zach Lewis and Connor Yuhas scored for the Red Raiders.
Kenmore West 5, Williamsville South 2
Fed point leader Ethan Yotter had two goals and an assist as the Blue Devils become the first team in the Fed to reach 10 points in the standings. Cam Crosier netted a goal and two assists while Michael Barker had two assists for the Blue Devils. Dylan Speck and Tyler Buyea also scored for Kenmore West.
Mitchell Kiebala and C.J. Wehr both scored for the Billies.
Iroquois-Alden 5, Kenmore East 3
Iroquois-Alden came back from a three-goal deficit to pick up their fourth win in a row. Aaron Wojtkowiak led the way with two goals, including one on the power play. Luke Pukalo had a goal and an assist. Tyler Kaplewicz and Quinn Stoltman also scored for Alden-Iroquois.
Michael Greiner, Ryan Hahn and Tyler LaPorta all scored for the Bulldogs
Fayetteville-Manilus 5, Grand Island 3
Joe Christiano netted a pair of goals in the Viking’s non-league loss to visiting Fayetteville-Manilus. Tyler Hunt also scored for Grand Island.
McQuaid 6, Bishop Timon 2
Orchard Park vs. Canisius 1 p.m. Buffalo State College
Clarence vs. Frontier 6:15 p.m. HarborCenter
Williamsville North vs. Lancaster 8:30 p.m. HarborCenter
West Seneca East vs. Lockport-Niagara Falls 4 p.m. HarborCenter