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  • Tony Fiorello

Orchard Park falls to Suffern in State Title game

Photos by Andrew Miller

One day after an emotional victory over McQuaid Jesuit to advance to the NYSPHSAA Division-I Boys Hockey championship game, the Orchard Park Quakers were defeated by Section I’s Suffern by a 6-2 score.

The Quakers (18-4-0-3), who had never reached the state title game before, have a lot to be proud of according to coach Josh Dannecker.

“We had a great opportunity but we just didn’t get the bounces we needed,” Dannecker said. “We worked really hard out there though. Once we started taking some penalties and having some things go against us, it was hard to respond and it became an uphill battle.

“That’s how hockey is sometimes – there’s a lot of life lessons and a lot of bounces, and unfortunately it just didn’t go our way.”

Play between the Quakers and Mounties was evenly matched through the contest’s first period. Orchard Park got on the board first when a harmless-looking wrist shot near the boards from Brady Ciano – who had a hat trick the day before – got by Suffern goalie Nick Downey.

Late in the first Carter Zakrzewski was hooked by a Suffern defender while on a shorthanded breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. Given a chance to increase Orchard Park’s lead to 2-0, Zakrzewski was stopped by Downey, and that missed chance swung momentum to the Mounties’ side.

Suffern tied the score with 8.2 seconds remaining in the first when a scrum in front of Quakers goaltender Braydern Hearn resulted in Philip McCarthy putting home a rebound after the initial shot from the point was stopped. From that point on, it was the Mounties’ game.

Sean Tyrrell redirected a shot past Hearn while positioned in the slot to give the Mounties a 2-1 lead midway through the second period and the rout was on. Nick Bonanno then made it 3-1 on a 5-on-3 power play and Tyrrell increased the lead to 4-1 a couple of minutes later with his second of the game.

Orchard Park refused to go quietly when Brennan O’Hara scored to pull the Quakers to within two goals midway through the third, but when Dannecker decided to pull Hearn for an extra attacker in the dying minutes of the game Suffern took advantage. Ayden Greenberg and Bonanno each collected empty-net goals to seal the championship for the Mounties.

Following the game, Dannecker expressed his belief in the players who will be returning and in the Quakers’ chances for next season.

“This was our first opportunity to play on this stage and we went against a really good team,” Dannecker said. “If it’s not us next year, hopefully someone from Section VI will be back.

“I’m really proud of the kids and our coaching staff does a tremendous job of getting them prepared and ready to play. It was a really great season – unfortunately we didn’t end the year as the top team in Division I in New York State, we finished second – but we’re going to look back at the whole season in totality and realize that we had a nice run.”

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