GI earns historic win
For the first time in the five-year history of the varsity hockey program at Grand Island, the Vikings have reached the Section VI Division II semifinals.
Brendan Pratt’s goal with 47 seconds left in the first overtime period made Grand Island a 2-1 winner over West Seneca East in a quarterfinal clash between the No. 6 and No. 3 seeds.
After a turnover in the neutral zone, Bobby Nappo chipped it up the wall to TJ Morgan, who came in wide down the right wing. He dropped a pass to Pratt who picked the top corner glove side from the top of the faceoff circle.
That was vital for the Vikings (12-9-1), who played without leading scorer and past all-state selection Mark McKenna. He missed the game with an undisclosed injury.
Grand Island will face top seed Williamsville East at 6 p.m. Wednesday to open a Division II semifinal doubleheader at Northtown Center.
GI goalie Mitch Racz made 25 saves, including several game-saving stops. The Vikings had 14 shots.
Hamburg wins in 2 OTs
Hamburg has been quite comfortable working overtime all season, so the Bulldogs were in their comfort zone during the Section VI Division II hockey game against North Tonawanda. Brendan Hart’s goal with 3:47 left in the second overtime gave the Bulldogs a 4-3 triumph and a semifinal date with Kenmore East.
Hart potted his fourth overtime goal of the season during a goal-mouth scramble. It’s Hamburg’s fifth overtime win this season and its eighth straight win overall.
The goal capped an improbable rally by Hamburg (16-6), which seemingly gave up the go-ahead goal to NT’s Curtis Vivian with 57 seconds left in regulation. The Bulldogs tied it with 12 seconds left on Eric Shearer’s second goal of the game, a hard, low shot through traffic that found nothing but net.
Kenmore East took an early lead on a pair of Russ Riggio goals in its 5-2 win over West Seneca West. Goalie Brad Hermann made 19 saves in the win. After a scoreless first period, Williamsville East scored four times in the second and four more times in the third to take an 8-0 decision from Williamsville South. Mike Steffan and Matt Cohen each scored twice for the defending champion Flames (18-2-1).
St. Joe’s moves along
St. Joe’s coach Mark Simon became the school’s all-time winningest coach in basketball on the same day his Marauders earned a playoff date with their longtime rival.
Marcell Davis led the Marauders with 17 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks and four steals, while Grant Beyer added 15 points and 12 boards in helping Simon earn his 279th win as St. Joe’s won the Manhattan Cup Class A play-in game with a 74-48 rout of St. Francis at St. Mary’s of Lancaster.
Simon’s win total passes the mark previously set by Frank Schiavone. The win also sets up a third showdown this season with Canisius. The two meet during Sunday’s semifinals at Canisius College’s Koessler Athletic Center.
St. Joe’s has played the Crusaders, who went unbeaten in regular-season play in the MMA, tough this season – holding the lead in the second half during both meetings before losing by 10 and 11 points, respectively.
In the Class B play-in game, Niagara Catholic beat O’Hara, 65-59. Donel Cathcart finished with 19 points for O’Hara, setting the school’s single-season record for points with 566. Jaceary Menes led NC with 24 points.
Maryvale banquet set
The 2015 Maryvale Athletic Wall of Fame banquet is at 6 p.m. March 21 at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. Tickets cost $35.
This year’s class of inductees includes Matt Brennan (Class 2007), Susan Bochinski-Dunz (1990), Dan Harris (2005), Mark Kuczmanski (2001), Jim Lumadue (1979), the 1962-1963 men’s basketball team and the 1992 men’s volleyball team. For tickets contact Bev Capozzi at 684-5979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.