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JFK inline hockey to take on Lancaster for title

CHEEKTOWAGA - Three times was not the charm, so the Bears will give it a fourth.

JFK's inline hockey team have advanced to the championship game three consecutive seasons, losing to Lancaster Red each time.

The Bears have every intention on making a fourth trip, but with different results.

"We plan on winning our last three games of the season and being the second seed in the playoffs just like last year, but this time we're going to win it all," said Austin Junik, who has 10 points for the Bears this season.

JFK (5-2) will play Lancaster Black (5-2) this weekend at the Cheektowaga Recreation Center for sole possession of second place in the Buffalo Storm Inline Varsity Division - a place that the Bears thought they were better than before the season began.

"Honestly, we were expecting to be better," said senior Dylan Yerry. "We finished in second the last three years in a row."

JFK has been waiting for this game since after week two, when Black got the best of the Bears in a 8-3 win.

They are both two games behind Red in the standings, who is unbeaten through their first seven games.

The Bears had a chance to push Red for first place when the two met in their only meeting of the regular season earlier this month.

JFK lost in a 13-12 shootout, but it has all the confidence in the world that they will be on the winning side if the two teams meet again.

"We have high expectations this year on beating [Lancaster Red] and bringing home the hardware," said Junik. "We will definitely go to the ship."

The Bears bounced back from their second loss of the season by winning two in a row, including a 14-2 victory over West Seneca East last weekend.

Jared Bulinski was handing out helpers left and right, scoring 13 points on 10 assists, increasing his team high point total to 54 on the year. Matt Cich had a team high four goals in the win, along with performances by Mike Malacaro and Yerry, who each had two goals and three assists. Mike Neuman, meanwhile, scored three times with an assist to boot.

While Austin and his brother, Brandon were out of town, senior Russ Wojciechowski stepped in net to replace Brandon, who has won the other four games for JFK this year.

"Finally getting back in there was a real pleasure. I love playing with these boys a lot," said Wojciechowski, who has not played hockey since the ice season ended a few months ago. "I didn't really know what to expect. I just went in there and did what I do best, which is stop the puck."

JFK hopes to keep the winning streak going as they seek revenge against Lancaster Black this evening.


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