Weekly Feature

2018-02-08 / Sports

East hockey clinches program’s first regular-season title, top seed


West Seneca East’s hockey team locked down its first regular-season championship – and the top seed for the Federation Small Schools tournament to boot – Friday when it took down Starpoint in overtime, 6-5, to improve to 12-2 in the Division II standings.

Starpoint certainly made East work for its rewards, putting the Trojans in a two-goal deficit on three separate occasions before they were able to pull out the win just 54 seconds into the extra session.

Tyler Arndt was the hero for East, capping his natural hat trick with the game winner. Arndt, who also had an assist, started out his hat trick with a short-handed tally just 47 seconds after Starpoint had pushed its advantage to 5-3.

Arndt’s second goal, which tied the game at 5-5, came with just 54 seconds to spare.

“We didn’t start the game out well, playing a period and a half of sub-par hockey by our standards,” coach Phil Prynn said. “Fortunately, we came out flying in the third period and finally broke through to score on a couple of nice plays. We were just a hair off on a couple of close calls early in the game. They fought us hard to the very end, and we were lucky to escape with the win. They’re definitely going to be a dangerous team in the first round of the playoffs.”

Adam Stradtman, Drew Werner and Danny Flynn (3 assists) scored East’s other goals, while Colin Schmatz also assisted on three of East’s goals. Damond Flynn added two assists, while Werner also had an assist for East. Jagger Maving turned aside 35 shots in net to secure the victory for the Trojans (14-3-1 overall), who close out their regular season by facing crosstown rival West Seneca West in Friday’s Senior Night game and then Kenmore West the next day.

“Everybody in our league is playing well and stepping their games up as of late,” Prynn said. “I honestly think all the teams are getting better because the teams we are beating by one goal are going out and crushing their next opponents. Everybody’s fighting down to the very end. I’m not sure how many more overtime games I can take, especially with the playoffs just about here. We don’t want to be in a one-bounce situation in the playoffs, because that’s how dreams get shattered.

“To that end, we’ve got to go into Friday’s game with the approach of not looking past anyone, and just realize that emotions are why West beat us the first time,” Prynn continued. “It’s an emotional night and always a close game anytime East plays West, and West is still playing for the second seed, so they’ll be playing hard. They’re not going to do anything silly. If we take care of our end like we’re supposed to, we’ll be a pretty solid hockey team on Friday. It’ll be interesting to see how the guys respond to a game that will essentially have the atmosphere of a big playoff game.”

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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