By Warren Kozireski —
Canandaigua and Webster-Thomas both advanced to the Section V Class B semi-finals with quarterfinal wins over Notre Dame and Irondequoit respectively before winning tight affairs in the semi-finals played at RIT’s Gene Polisseni Center and advance to Monday’s Class B final.
Canandaigua won a 5-3 decision against Brockport while Webster-Thomas defeated Churchville-Chili 3-2.
In the first semi-final, Brockport jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 4:12 of the first period as Andrew Harley picked up the puck at center ice and dashed down the right wing before his snapper from 15 feet out found the back of the net.
Two minutes later Blue Devils goaltender Liam Schreiner made three-point blank saves before Canandaigua was able to tie the game a 1-1 with a power play goal by Alex Burley at 10:01.
Burley scored twice more over the first 4:17 of the second to complete his natural hat trick to extend the Braves lead to 3-1. But Harley scored his second of the game with only three seconds remaining on a power play with an unassisted wraparound goal at 9:35.
The Braves netted what would prove to be the game winner at 4:49 of the third as an Evan best backhand to the short side snuck under the goalie’s blocker pad to make it 4-2.
But the Blue Devils again closed to within one of the lead as freshman Austin Ennis centered a feed to Peyton Young, who scored on a wrist shot at 7:17.
Less than one minute later Young hit the goal post on another opportunity and, with the goalie pulled for the final 90 seconds of regulation, both Matthew Gemerek and Tucker Trask had point-blank shots stopped by Canandaigua net-minder Noah Schwartz.
The Braves scored on a lengthy empty net shot with 27 seconds remaining to seal the win.
“I said yesterday that it was going to come to our two best players and goalie against theirs and their goalie played exceptionally well in the third and that was the difference,” Brockport head coach Greg Stahl said. “We’ve been surviving these games and wining 7-4, but today we couldn’t get to the seven.
Game two featured Webster-Thomas jumping out to a 2-0 first period lead with two even strength goals just 89 seconds apart by Cade Spencer and Tommy Ammon.
But the Saints returned volley off the ensuing faceoff as Spencer Quinn scored unassisted as he handcuffed the goalie under the blocker pad to make it 2-1.
After a scoreless second period thanks to Saints goaltender Nick Anderson’s save on a breakaway at the buzzer, Thomas retook a two goal advantage as Zachary Olsen fed Mitchell Marsh after winning an offensive zone draw at 11:19 of the third.
Awarded a late power play Churchville-Chili defenseman Mathias Horvath put his shot from the right point into the upper right corner after a pass from Brandon Clark at 12:40.
With the goaltender pulled for the extra attacker in the final minute, Saints forward Jordan Alves had his redirect from the high slot stopped and the Saints could not get the equalizer.
“We had a mindset going in that we wanted to play a certain way and my hat goes off to Churchville, they’re a solid team and well-coached,” Thomas head coach David Evans said. “We been playing well down the stretch here as we finished the season and had some tough losses with two weeks left. But we bounced back in the last week and we got scared in the quarterfinal pretty bad in the first two periods against Irondequoit. We were able to play a good third period and carried it over.
“In the third you could feel it where it was sort of a back-and-forth and we were able to score to make it 3-1. They’re a hard team to lay against and a hard team to beat and we’re happy that we’re moving on.”
Canandaigua and Thomas compete for the Class B Section V title Monday night again at RIT.