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ECC hockey wins national championship

Erie Community College won the second National Junior College ice hockey championship in school history Sunday, edging two-time defending champion Williston State of North Dakota, 2-1, in Binghamton.

Trevor Evans (Wilson) scored the winning goal in the third period.

The Kats also won the championship in 2011.

Coach Gary Rost’s team had to kill off a major penalty over the game’s last 3:19 after a boarding call against Bradley Jones. They survived the short-handed situation with the help of goalie Will Korczynski, who had 36 saves.

ECC went 1 for 6 on the power play and Williston was 0 for 8.

“It was a game of special teams,” said Rost, who has been with the ECC program since 1977, when he began working under retired coach Ralph Galanti.

Williston opened the scoring on a goal by Chris West at 11:51 of the first period. ECC’s Tyler Riter, the NJCAA leader with 52 points and 25 goals, tied it on the power play with assists from Jones and Aaron Wanat at 15:37 of the second.

Then Evans scored the game-winner off a rebound with assists from Riter and Richard Procknal at 4:20 of the third. Evans was third in the nation in scoring with 45 points and second in goals with 23.

The Kats (25-3) beat the Williston goalie Tanner Swift, who led the NJCAA in goals-against average (2.02) and save percentage (.933). Korczynski, 6-feet-5 and 250 pounds from West Seneca, was second in both areas at 2.12 and .916.

He had six saves in Saturday’s 8-0 semifinal win over Mohawk Valley and 36 in Sunday’s championship game. Williston had defeated host Broome CC, 7-0, on Saturday.

“It’s a team that developed as we went along,” Rost said of his Kats. “When the season started we had only seven returnees. We keep the 30 best guys from tryouts and 23 were new guys. Then we went to work.”