Weekly Feature



2015-02-26 / Sports

East hockey drops OT heartbreaker in playoff opener

by JASON NADOLINSKI
Reporter


West Seneca East’s Ryan Krzykowski gets a handle on a pass during the Trojans’ 2-1 overtime loss to Grand Island in Sunday’s Western New York Federation Small School quarterfinal at the Northtowns Center. 
Photo by Patrick McPartlandPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com West Seneca East’s Ryan Krzykowski gets a handle on a pass during the Trojans’ 2-1 overtime loss to Grand Island in Sunday’s Western New York Federation Small School quarterfinal at the Northtowns Center. Photo by Patrick McPartlandPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com West Seneca East’s hockey team felt pretty confident about its chances to advance in the Western New York Federation Small Schools playoffs entering its quarterfinal round game with Grand Island Sunday, having defeated the Vikings in close outings during both regular-season meetings between the squads.

That confidence helped the Trojans overcome Grand Island’s ability to take control of the game early in the first period, though in the end East — which was able to knot the game at 1-1 in the third period — was unable to find a way to come up with a second goal in ultimately succumbing by a 2-1 margin in overtime.

“I thought our preparation and desperation, the way we just played hard, was great,” assistant coach Phil Prynn said. “I wouldn’t change anything about how we approached or played the game. I think we were the better team, but we just never caught the break we needed.”

East certainly put itself in position to come away from the game victoriously. Aside from finishing with a 26-14 shots advantage, Prynn guessed that the Trojans “probably tripled them” in shot attempts that didn’t qualify as actual shots on net. East took just two penalties the entire game, which helped the Trojans keep the puck in Grand Island’s zone for the majority of the contest.

Yet Grand Island’s netminder proved to be up for the task, coming up with some monumental saves on all of East’s shots — except for Brandon Swierczynski’s shot that would become East’s only tally early in the third period — to give the Vikings a chance at the victory. One of the Viking goalie’s biggest stops came on a rolling puck in overtime that looked destined to cross the goal line.

“We really did have pretty much everything go in our favor during the game,” Prynn said. “We were pressuring them the entire time, but their goalie certainly kept them in it. We just couldn’t buy a goal when we needed one the most. We played hard and played disciplined with a lot of intensity, but they found a way to hang on. It just wasn’t our day.”

East, which rang multiple shots off the crossbar and the goal post after tying the game, finished the season 12-5 overall and loses 13 players to graduation. And while the prospect of having to come up with new players to fill the shoes of nearly two-thirds of a roster, Prynn is optimistic that the Trojans will be able to enjoy their fair share of success next winter.

“I’m actually not too nervous about us losing as many guys as we are because we lost quite a few kids last year too,” Prynn said. “We’re obviously losing some talented players in a lot of different spots on the ice, but other teams lose seniors too. We’ll certainly get back to building the program back up with the younger players we’ll have next winter like we did three years ago; that process ultimately worked out pretty well for us, and I have no reason to doubt that it won’t again. We might not be the team with the most wins next year, but I definitely plan on us being the hardest working team out there on the ice.”

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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