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Geary goal powers Will North to state title

Williamsville North is the state Division I champion in boys hockey for the third time in the last six years.

Ryan Geary's power-play goal in the second period gave the Spartans a 1-0 victory over Aquinas Institute of Rochester in the title game Sunday at the Utica War Memorial.

Ryan Clifford and Justin Koshan assisted on the goal, which came at 5:26 of the second period.

Goalie Jordan Komm backstopped what coach Bob Rosen called a strong team defensive performance for North (25-3), which also won the state title in 2002 and 2004 and lost in the title game in 2003. Only Massena, with four, has won more titles the Spartans.

Rosen used a basketball analogy to inspire his team after it was upset in the semifinals of Western New York Federation playoffs by Canisius, 3-2.

"I reminded the team that the last time Duke won the NCAA championship in basketball they did not win their conference tournament," Rosen said. "Our main goal from day one was to win the state championship.

"This certainly ranks right up there with the other championships we won," Rosen said. "We had a couple of losses in the beginning of the year, then we went on a 20-game winning streak. The kids worked hard through the year and stayed focused.

"We got a little derailed in the [Federation] playoffs but we got back on track."

The Spartans had only 12 shots on goal against Aquinas goalie Scott Mertz, but Komm stopped all 23 shots he faced. He was particularly strong in the second period, making four saves when Aquinas had a two-man power-play advantage.

"They had a lot of shots from outside and anything close Jordan [Komm] was great on. He controlled rebounds and just did a tremendous job," Rosen said.

Geary, Clifford and Kenny Joseph of North were named to the all-tournament team. Komm was selected MVP of the game. Rosen was elected state Coach of the Year.

It was only the second loss of the season for Aquinas (22-2-3).

In Division II, Clinton (26-1-3) won its second straight title with a 4-1 win over Monroe-Woodbury., which had defeated Williamsville East, 3-2, in the semifinals on Saturday on a third period goal by Nick Beloise, his third of the game.

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