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High School Ice Hockey: Busy Hamburg remains a hot team

Jordyn Bellitto and Hamburg finished off a 2-0-1 three-game stretch of games in four days by beating West Seneca East. (Photo courtesy of Ron Larson)

A tough stretch of three games in four days proved to be no big deal for a Hamburg team that is rolling. The Bulldogs beat St. Mary’s 6-2 on Thursday, Jan. 10 and then followed up a 2-2 tie with Kenmore West on Jan. 12 with a 6-3 win over West Seneca East the next day.

Behind top scorers Chris Moses and Brendan McFall, who continued to deliver with four goals each over the three games, and the goaltending of junior Brandon Bartoo, Hamburg improved to 6-4-1-1 overall and took over first place in the WNY federation’s Division III for small schools with a 6-1-1-1 mark.

“We’re at the point in the season where we are playing a lot of hockey. We treated this weekend as a tournament for us, three games in four days can be tough. But we grew in strength with each game and feel that we played our best in the last game on Sunday versus W.S. East.” “That’s how we are treating the season, grow with each game and have our next game be better than the last.”

Hamburg was tied 2-2 in the second period with a St. Mary’s team playing better hockey and welcoming back a top player, before the Bulldogs took charge from there. Brendan McFall scored with 1:34 left in the second period and then Chris Moses tallied twice and linemate Alex Peters added another in the third to pull away. Brett Ross also scored in the win.

The game against Kenmore West pitted two of the teams at the bottom of last year’s standings, but like hamburg West was a young team in 2011-12 that has improved quite a bit this season. Hamburg held the 39-19 advantage in shots on goal, including a 6-0 margin in overtime, but coach McFall said West’s goalie enjoyed a big game and got some help from the post on a few occasions.

Austin Bishop received a cross-ice pass from Brendan McFall and ripped a shot off the goal post that would have given Hamburg it’s second overtime victory of the year. Moses also hit the crossbar earlier in the game.

Cole Beale scored his first goal of the season with 1:30 remaining in the second period to give Hamburg a 2 - 1 lead. However, West scored on the power play at 10:09 of the third to tie the game. Ross had also scored earlier in the game.

“As much as we have improved this season is as much as they have also,” coach McFall noted. “This was a fun game to be involved with. Both team played great hockey. We saw some nice offensive plays, some nice defensive plays, and some great goaltending fro both teams.”

In completing the busy weekend with a win Sunday at Buffalo State, Hamburg received three goals from each of its top two lines. Moses scored twice and Peters added another with the help of his linemate Bishop, while Brendan McFall notched a hat-trick and was the beneficiary of the chemistry established with fellow junior linemates Colin Coppola and Ross.

Bartoo, who was thrust into the regular starter role when sophomore Zach Sortisio was injured in the second game of the season, has played in each of Hamburg’s games since and lowered his goals against average to just above three goals per game.

“We have been able to score goals this year and one of our focuses has been on limiting the other teams’ scoring chances,” coach McFall said. “With the injury to Zach, Brendan has come into each game knowing that he is the man in net for us. His confidence has grown.”

Moses leads all small school goal scorers with 16 in just nine league games and he has 20 for the season. Brendan McFall is second in goals with 12 in league games.

“They’ve helped give us a great one-two scoring threat playing on different lines,” said coach McFall, who noted that the two are also among the top four point scorers in small schools, while Coppola leads all players in assists with 12.

After a game Thursday, Jan. 17 against Orchard Park in non-league action at Leisure Rinks, the Bulldogs return to league action against Lew-Port in their first of four games this season at the Hamburg Town Arena. That game will be a 1 p.m. MLK Day matinee, following Frontier against St. Joe’s at 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 21.

“We have four of our last eight games at our home rink,” coach McFall said. “We are coming into these games with a lot of momentum and are hoping to have some great crowds coming out to see us play.”

Elsewhere, St. Francis emphatically snapped a three-game losing streak by beating Amherst 8-0 on Jan. 13. Junior Ryan Stefaniak netted four goals and classmate Tim Galley made 14 saves for his first shutout of the season. Coming off a Federation title-winning season, a younger Red Raiders squad is now 4-9-1 overall and 4-6 in small school play.
St. Francis junior goalie Tim Galley, who here is aided by the defense of Nick Ferrino, earned a shutout win over Amherst. (Photo by Jeff Barnes/Metro Source)


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