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Bisons’ 16-under, 19-under girls open nationals with wins

The Buffalo Bisons girls carried the winning torch for Western New York’s representatives Wednesday in the opening day of the USA Hockey Tournament.

In San Jose, Calif., Olivia Zafuto’s power-play goal in the third period off assists from Ashley Songin and Kathryn Marotta with 5:26 left was the game-winner as the Bisons’ 16-under Tier I girls team beat Team Pittsburgh, 1-0. Lauren Pray made 22 saves for the shutout.

Also in San Jose, the Bisons’ 19-under Tier I girls team, which is filled with a bunch of players who have experience at nationals, scored five times in the third period and opened by crushing Team Pittsburgh 9-4.

Madison Sansone finished with two goals and three assists for Buffalo, while Julianna Iafallo had two goals and an assist and Maddie Elia a goal and two assists. The Bisons outshot Pittsburgh 45-44 with Madison Welch finishing with 40 saves.

The area’s boys teams, however, did not have a good day.

The Buffalo Regals/Jr. Sabres dropped a 5-3 decision to Detroit Honey Baked in the 18-under Tier I boys tournament in Pittsburgh. Mike Coyne, Justin Simonelli and Nico Gonzalez scored for Buffalo.

Honey Baked blanked the Buffalo Regals, 6-0, in the 14-under boys Tier I division.

In Troy, Mich., Port Huron, Mich., beat Cheektowaga, 7-2, in 18-under Tier II division.

Round-robin play continues today and Friday at the boys and girls tournaments with the teams amassing the most points over the three-day period advancing to the weekend’s single-elimination playoff round.