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Starpoint Wins 1st Section VI Hockey Championship

*Starpoint 3, Williamsville South 1*

Starpoint made school history on Sunday after defeating Williamsville South 3-1 in the Section VI small school hockey championship at the Key Bank Center. It’s the school’s first title since joining the Federation three seasons ago.

“This is a testament to all the hard work these players put in all year long,” head coach Clayton Wilson said after the win. “These guys just really love playing hockey and they like each other. They truly like playing together.”

The game started in typical Spartan fashion, slowly. Starpoint is one of the more explosive teams on offense but for some reason it takes a period or so for their arsenal to start taking shape. Sunday was no different.

Williamsville South soundly beat the Spartans in the stats department after the first period. In particular, shots on goal, with an 11-5 edge.

Mitchell Kiebala puts the Billies up 1-0! Assists from Marcus Bratton and Liam Wicks. Starpoint: 0 Williamsville South: 1 10:26 remaining in the 1st period.@billieshockey @South_Athletics @WillSouthHerd @spartansvhockey @spointathletics @StarpointCSD @wnyfedhockey @SectionVI — WNY Athletics (@WNYAthletics) March 1, 2020

Spartan goaltender A.J. White came to play and it showed in the early stages.

“I was definitely nervous in the beginning,” White, the game MVP said. “I started to get comfortable as the game went on and it helped as I started to see some shots. The MVP – that’s really a team award. I didn’t deserve it. There were a lot of contributors today.”

Mitchell Kiebala banged home the game’s first goal to give the Billies a 1-0 lead in period 2. Moments later their power play went to work but were unable to add to their lead with the man advantage.

Starpoint freshman Justin Bull tied the game at 1-1 after the Spartans killed off the penalty. Bull won a faceoff deep in Billies territory, fed it back to Carmelo Martorana who fired a quick shot on goaltender Jayce Faso. Faso made the initial save but the rebound came right to the waiting hands of Bull who fired the puck into the Billies net.

Justin Bull ties it up for Starpoint! Assists credited to Max Ciepiela and Carmelo Martorana. Starpoint: 1 Williamsville South: 1 5:13 remaining in the 2nd period.@billieshockey @South_Athletics @WillSouthHerd @spartansvhockey @spointathletics @StarpointCSD @wnyfedhockey — WNY Athletics (@WNYAthletics) March 1, 2020

The teams came out in the third and Blake Dewey scored what would eventually be the game winning goal. Dewey pounced on his own rebound after his first shot was denied.

Starpoint goes up 2-1 in the 3rd! Blake Dewey from Spencer Slote. 06:08 remaining in the 3rd period.@billieshockey @South_Athletics @WillSouthHerd @spartansvhockey @spointathletics @StarpointCSD @wnyfedhockey @SectionVI — WNY Athletics (@WNYAthletics) March 1, 2020

Will South, who had a sizable lead in shots on goal heading into the 3rd, could only muster a couple of shots in the final period. Starpoint controlled the puck well and would add an insurance goal late in the period to close out the historic victory.

Joe Lobrutto, who played a great two-way game for the Spartans, scored the third Starpoint goal. “This is a great feeling to be the Section VI champion,” Lobrutto said. “Will South was a good team. We lost to them earlier in the year so to be able to come back and beat them today was a huge win for us.”

GOAL! Joe LoBrutto puts gives the Spartans a 2-goal lead. Assist from Ryan Kelly. Starpoint: 3 Williamsville South: 1 02:57 remaining in the 3rd period. — WNY Athletics (@WNYAthletics) March 1, 2020

Faso (WS) was tough to beat, the sophomore made 19 saves; White (STAR) finished with 21 saves.

“It’s always hard to take when the season comes to an end,” Billies head coach Sean Green said. “Our guys played well, they gave it everything they had. We had our chances, especially in the first period.”

Starpoint advances to the New York State regional finals held next Saturday at Buffalo State College; puck drop is 5:50pm.

They’ll take on a team from Section III (Syracuse) but they’ll have to wait to see who that is. It’ll either be Whitesboro or the defending NYSPHSAA small school champion Skaneateles; they face-off Monday night.

*** Feature image was provided courtesy of Janet Schultz, ***

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