For Western New York youth hockey, it was a title wave weekend.
The Buffalo Regals defeated rival West Seneca on Sunday, 2-1, to take the state Midget "A" title. West Seneca held a 1-0 lead late in the contest, but Regal goals by Tom Szczygiel and Chris Fattey with less than six minutes to play provided the winning margin.
Sunday also marked the eighth straight year the Regals Midgets have advanced to the state championship game, winning it six times.
The Regals outscored their five state championship tournament opponents over the weekend by a combined 27-6. The goaltending tandem of Matt Miller and Mark Breeden was strong.
Leading Regal scorers were Ross Sealfon (seven goals, seven assists), Bob Weston (4-8) and defenseman Kevin Hansen (2-8). The Regals, coached by John Bowers, now head to Detroit for the Midget nationals April 5-9.
The Bisons Girls Midgets won their third consecutive state crown on Sunday, too, shutting out Lake Placid, 1-0, in Canton. Alanna Hayes had a strong game and tournament, stopping 27 shots in the title contest. Laura Hays scored the lone Bison goal. Lake Placid came into the championship game having scored 29 goals in its four tournament games.
The Bisons beat Norwood/Norfolk, Syracuse, North Franklin and Canton-Potsdam before facing Lake Placid. Defenseman Jaime Totten was credited by Bison coach Jack Walsh as spearheading the defense the entire weekend.
Walsh also stated that this year's win was the sweetest of the three state championships as the entire team contributed, rather than relying on a scoring superstar as they did in past years with Meaghan Sittler.
Kyle Walsh (five goals, three assists) and Melissa McKenzie (3-5) led the way, with Hays (6-1) and April Wall (3-3) also making strong contributions.
This season was Walsh's first as coach after assisting former coach Mike Kromke the last two years.
The Bisons now travel to the Girls Midget nationals in Syracuse April 5-9.
The Tonawanda Lady Lightning dominated its opponent to win the state senior women's title, besting Hudson River, 7-1, in the final Sunday at Dann Memorial Rink.
Kim Eisenreid scored four goals with three assists in the final and Shawnee Oberholtzer contributed three goals and an assist. Barb Schwab chipped in with three assists, and B.G. Metzger had two assists.
To get to the final, the Lightning routed Rochester, 7-0; Syracuse, 6-1; and Batavia, 10-1. The team now heads to the nationals in Syracuse, April 6-9.
The Grand Niagara Squirts Tier II utilized a total team effort and outstanding goaltending from Glenn Deverell and Adam Giacometti to win its state title Sunday in Cheektowaga.
Deverell was in goal when Grand Niagara beat Camillus, 5-1, for the title. He also was in goal Friday when his team opened play with a 2-0 victory over the New York Sharks.
The shutout hockey continued Saturday with Giacometti earning a 4-0 win over Camillus. Later that day, Grand Niagara tied Lake Placid, 5-5, before besting rival Cheektowaga in Sunday's semifinal, 2-0, with Giacometti in goal.
"I told our team back on Aug. 20 that you have a chance to get to the top of the mountain and we now have made it," said Grand Niagara coach Ray Gruarin.
The South Buffalo Midget Majors made it to the semifinal of their state tournament in Auburn before losing to Canton, 5-0. The team, coached by Mike Stecher, beat eventual champion Bear Mountain, 3-1; Auburn, 6-1; and Malone, 3-2; and lost to Clinton, 5-2, in preliminary play.
The Batavia Pee Wee Tier II lost in the championship game of its states, 8-2, in Rome. The Grand Niagara team lost in the semis there.