Thursday March 7, 2013 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports
The Southtowns League JV champion Frontier hockey team poses after beating Hamburg 3-0 in the final, before heading off to the state tournament.
The Frontier junior varsity boys hockey team finished up a banner year by capturing the Southtowns JV Club Hockey Championship and earning a bid to the State Championships over the weekend in Ithaca where the Falcons just missed playing in another game for the title.
The second-seeded Falcons overcame three losses at the hands of Hamburg to defeat their rival and the Southtowns League’s top seed in the championship game, 3-0.
The game was scoreless until midway through the second period when Owen Bednasz put Frontier on top. The score remained 1-0 until the two minute mark of the third period as Matt Kelley put the game away with the first of his two goals, one of which was scored shorthanded. Nate Sawicki fed Kelley on both goals.
With the game scoreless and when the Falcons were nursing a 1-0 lead, goalie Ryan Kaska came up with a couple huge saves in the third period.
“Our kids executed the gameplan perfectly and when we had a breakdown, Ryan was there to save the day,” coach Rich Schwartzott said. “It was an overall team effort and I am really proud of our guys. We have come a long way from the start of the season.”
Schwartzott noted that varsity head coach Bob Klimowicz was in the crowd and it was nice to see varsity players also present supporting the junior varsity as the JV players had done for the varsity throughout the year.
“We want to continue this winning tradition at all three levels of Frontier hockey and it’s awesome seeing the guys supporting one another — that is what good teams do,” Klimowicz noted. “I am so proud of what the JV team has accomplished this year.”
Trailing 3-1 with just under three minutes left to play in the semifinal, Frontier’s season looked like it was going to end with major disappointment. However, Alex Vasiloff scored the tying goal at the one-minute mark and then Ryan Hennigan beat the Canisius goalie in overtime to send the Falcons into the championship game.
At the state championships in Ithaca, Frontier fell 4-2 to Niagara Falls, which scored twice in the final 1:50 of the game. Sawicki and Brandon Stone scored the goals for Frontier and Kaska made 22 saves.
In their second game, the Falcons beat the Merrick Bulldogs from Long Island, 9-5, behind three goals from Brendan Solinski, two from Mitchell Knihinicki and single tallies by Kyle Tatar, Ryan Piniewski, Evan Kearny and Kelley. Jim Brophy earned the win in net with 20 saves.
The Falcons needed to win by three goals to advance to the state finals against eventual champion Hamburg, but with the Falcons ahead 3-0, Ithaca scored with 1:36 left in game to make it a two-goal contest and that was the way it finished. Kaska made 22 saves and Kearny, Solinski and Tatar each scored goals for the Falcons. Bednasz was awarded the Sportsmanship Award for the Falcons.