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FANTASTIC FINISH; All season long, Kenmore East's rallying cry was 'Finish,' and the Bulldogs did just that with the program's first state title

How they got there

1. Super Sunday: The theme of "Finish" -- emblazoned on T-shirts made for Kenmore East before the season by assistant Tom Diehl -- was borne from the 2011 Division II title game, when Williamsville East beat the Bulldogs, 2-1. The Bulldogs did that plenty of times against the Flames in this year's final. Ken East, which scored 99 goals in 14 league games during the regular season, needed just 4:38 to chase the Flames' starting goalie as Anthony Amoia and Taylor Davis scored 38 seconds apart for a 2-0 lead. It was 6-2 after the second period as the Bulldogs won their second Federation title under coach Kyle Pray.

2. State quarterfinal: Another huge game, another huge scoring burst. Kenmore East stunned Section V (Rochester area) champion Notre Dame of Batavia, 8-5, after scoring four unanswered goals in the third period, including three within an 20-second span. Andy Robinson, Mike Diliberto and Dan Giliforte scored before Nick Pagliacci tallied on a breakaway as the Bulldogs skated on to the state final four.

3. State semifinal: Every playoff run has at least one close call, and this was the Bulldogs'. Andy Robinson found an open Dan Giliforte from the corner 1:14 into overtime to give Ken East a 3-2 victory over Section I (Westchester County) champion Pelham in a rough-and-tumble game. East fell behind twice in the first two periods before Austin Ford's goal with 1:34 left in the second period tied it at 2-2. East killed off a roughing penalty with minutes to go in regulation while goalie Mike Davern had 15 saves.

4. State championship: Ken East went back to its high-scoring ways in the final, jumping to a 6-1 lead after two periods before beating Section III (Syracuse area) champion Oswego, 6-3, for the program's first state title. Andrew Sturtz earned tournament MVP honors after scoring a hat trick and Dan Giliforte had four assists. Don Battista was named the Division II state Player of the Year while Pray and staff earned the state's top Division II coaching honors.

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Kenmore East Bulldogs roster

1 Derrick Ford, sr., G

3 Josh Kluge, sr., D

4 Brad DeLand, sr., D

5 David Hopfer, jr., D

6 David Hazelet, so., D

7 Taylor Davis, so., D/F

8 Andy Robinson, jr., F

9 John Mirabella, jr., F

10 Colin Farrell, so., D

12 Anthony Amoia, jr., F

14 Mitchell Calkins, jr., D

15 Mike Diliberto, jr., F

16 Nick Pagliacci, sr., F

17 Don Battista, sr., F

18 Dan Giliforte, sr., F

19 Robert Burket, sr., F

20 Austin Ford, sr., F

21 Brenon Sarratori, jr., F

22 Robert McNamara, so., F

26 Andrew Sturtz, sr., F

30 Michael Davern, jr., G

31 Trevor Taggart, jr., G

Coach: Kyle Pray

Assistants: Mike Kluge, Tom Diehl, Jim Kluge

Athletic director: Brett Banker

Principal: Patrick Heyden

Superintendent: Mark Mondanaro

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Road to the championship / Game-by-game to 22-2-1

Dec. 1 vs. Williamsville East, W, 5-3*

Dec. 4 at VII-St. Lawrence, W, 6-1

Dec. 8 vs. Amherst, W, 6-4*

Dec. 11 vs. St. Joe's, L, 3-2

Dec. 17 vs. Kenmore West, W, 8-0*

Dec. 26 at V-Greece Arcadia/Olympia, W, 13-2

Dec. 29 vs. Niagara Wheatfield, W, 4-2*

Dec. 31 vs. Lew-Port, W, 9-3*

Jan. 1 vs. Hamburg, W, 11-2*

Jan. 8 vs. Williamsville South, T, 5-5*

Jan. 9 vs. West Seneca West, L, 5-3*

Jan. 12 vs. Bishop Timon-St. Jude, W, 4-3*

Jan. 14 vs. III-Oswego, W, 7-1

Jan. 21 vs. St. Mary's, W, 12-1*

Jan. 23 vs. West Seneca East, W, 12-0*

Jan. 26 vs. Grand Island, W, 3-2*

Feb. 2 vs. Sweet Home, W, 7-2*

Feb. 4 vs. North Tonawanda, W, 11-0*

Feb. 9 vs. St. Francis, W, 3-2*

Section VI Division II quarterfinal at Northtowns Center

Feb. 18 vs. Hamburg, W, 7-0

Section VI Division II semifinal at Northtowns Center

Feb. 21 vs. Sweet Home, W, 3-0

Section VI Division II Championship at First Niagara Center (Super Sunday)

Feb. 26 Williamsville East, W, 9-2

NYSPHSAA quarterfinals at Monroe Community College

March 3 vs. V-Batavia Notre Dame, W, 8-5

NYSPHSAA state semifinals at Utica Memorial Auditorium

March 10 vs. I-Pelham, W, 3-2 (OT)

NYSPHSAA state semfinals at Utica Memorial Auditorium

March 11 vs. III-Oswego, W, 6-3

*-Western New York Varsity Hockey Federation game

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State championship posters: The News is paying tribute to Western New York's state champions from the winter for four consecutive Mondays: Section VI girls gymnastics (April 16) and Kenmore East boys hockey (today) will be followed by Niagara Falls girls bowling and Section VI boys bowling (April 30) and Western New York's individual champions in indoor track, wrestling, swimming and rifle (May 7).

Compiled by Keith McShea / News Sports Reporter * Photos by James P. McCoy/Buffalo News and Nick Serrata/Special to The News

ON THE WEB: Go to buffalonewsstore.com to purchase high-quality versions of the state championship pages.