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Hamburg skates past WSE, moves on to semifinals against Williamsville East

BUFFALO - Austin Bishop just wanted to get back on the ice and make a difference. After more than a year away from the game, Bishop was able to come back for the second half of the season for the Hamburg Bulldogs.

And the senior is sure making a difference.

Bishop had two goals and an assist and fellow senior Chris Moses added two goals as the Bulldogs advanced to the Western New York Varsity Federation Hockey semifinals with a 7-3 win over West Seneca East at Buffalo State College on Sunday afternoon.

“It went back and forth and that is playoff hockey,” said Hamburg coach John McFall. “Neither team wanted it right away. It took us until the third period. I think our big guy Bishop took us on his shoulders today and carried us.”

The Bulldogs couldn’t have asked for a better start to a hockey game as the drew first blood 37 seconds into the period as Moses wired a wrist shot past the glove of West Seneca East freshman goaltender Aaron Nowak.

“It’s nice to get that lead,” said McFall. “But, those leads are scary leads. It took us awhile to get the second goal. We played even up the rest of the period and lost that period. Sometimes it’s a scary lead. If it comes too easy they have a tendency to relax and in a playoff game there is no relaxing.”

However, if the Bulldogs thought this was going to be a walk in the park, they would be mistaken.

The underdog Trojans would tie the score late in the first when David Brunka got the shot past Hamburg goaltender Zachary Sortisio, as he was sliding on his stomach.

The Bulldogs and Trojans would continue to trade goals until Hamburg finally jumped on top 3-2 late in the second when Moses scored his second of the game on the power play. The Bulldogs built a two-goal just over a minute later as Bishop fired a rebound past the diving Nowak.

The Trojans, however, continued to fight back and cut the lead to one as Max Schwartzmeyer’s shot was deflected by a Hamburg defender and past Sortisio with 36 seconds left in the period.

“We told them you still have the lead,” said McFall, on what he told his team in the locker during the second period intermission. “We had to remind them that they are still ahead. They came out (hard in the third) and padded that lead out there. It was good effort coming out for the third period that won that game for us.”

The third was all Hamburg as they finally were able to take control with three goals in the period to open it up.

The win enables the Bulldogs, the third seed, to move on and face Williamsville East in the semifinals on at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Flames beat the Bulldogs earlier in the year, in a tight contest.

Hamburg has come a long since a two-win season a couple of years ago. But, don’t think the Bulldogs are just happy with being in the semifinals. They want to win and move on to Super Sunday for the first time in team history.

“We know we can play with them,” said McFall. “They beat us earlier in the year in overtime. They are a heck of a team. They (Hamburg) know there isn’t a team in this league they shouldn’t fear. Certainly respect, but not fear.”


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