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Power 10: Miguel Rodriguez ranks the best of the scholastic winter season

Those familiar with this column know how important playoff success is when it comes to determining which teams earn a spot in the season-ending Power 10.

While the postseason still plays out in most sports, one team already has a head start in the race to land a spot in the final rankings for the winter.

Without further ado, here's the penultimate Power 10 for the winter.

 (Through Friday night's games)

1 FLOP girls hockey. Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park makes history in becoming the first Section VI girls hockey team to win the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association championship. FLOP did it by relying on its ultra-talented blue-liners to control the game and fuel its offense. FLOP won it all by first taking out defending champion Skaneateles, the team it lost to in the 2017 final. Then FLOP smothered Salmon River for the crown. FLOP, winners of 15 of its 21 games (including three ties), will try to do one more thing no area girls hockey team has ever done: Complete the championship trifecta (Section VI, NYSPHSAA and WNY Federation playoff titles) when it plays Clarence/Amherst/Sweet Home for the Federation crown on Feb. 25.

2 Williamsville North boys hockey. The defending state champion Spartans clinched the regular-season division crown and top seed for the Section VI tournament with Sunday's win over Lancaster. Kicked off postseason with 9:30 a.m. Saturday quarterfinal.

3 Canisius basketball. Crusaders close regular season on 12-game winning streak by securing last Wednesday's double-overtime decision at St. Francis. Three-time defending Manhattan Cup champion Canisius opens postseason as top seed.

4 Sweet Home track and field. With Section VI boys and girls team championships already in hand, the well-rested Panthers now shift their focus toward attaining individual/relay team success at the Section VI state qualifier this Friday.

5 Cardinal O'Hara girls basketball. Hawks, which brought an 86-game winning streak against Western New York opponents into Saturday's marquee nonleague clash at Williamsville South, asserted themselves in win over Sacred Heart to complete another unbeaten regular season within the Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association.

6 Niagara Wheatfield boys hockey. Finished second in division to Williamsville North by a point, the only team it lost to in regulation during league play. By the way, four teams in the division currently ranked in top 11 in state poll with North at No. 3 and NW at No. 6.

7 Frontier bowling. Falcons soar again as boys win fourth sectional title in six years, led by overall champion Brandon Badaszewski's 1,248 set. Girls take second led by state-tournament qualifier Brittany McAndrews.

8 Orchard Park bowling. OP girls crushed it during the Section VI Tournament in claiming Division I title by 383 pins. Led by 1-2-4 finish of Paige Bartosz, Danielle Milo and Alexis Klenke, the Quakers claimed their second title in three years. OP boys finished second with Thomas Klenke earning his third trip to states.

9 West Seneca West boys basketball. ECIC I champions have been idle since Feb. 9 triumph at Jamestown to end regular season. Can the unbeaten Indians (20-0) continue adding to their trophy case?

10 Franklinville girls basketball. News' top-ranked small school completes 20-0 regular season with victories over large schools Sacred Heart, East Aurora and Jamestown.

High honors

-- Canisius swimming. Sixteen straight Monsignor Martin regular-season and playoff championships for the Crusaders. Enough said.

-- Cheektowaga girls bowling: Warriors win first ever Section VI Division II championship to earn first trip to the state tournament.

-- Lancaster wrestling: During a season in which Legends won Section VI Team title and all but two dual matches, they see three wrestlers capture individual Section VI championships during last week's state qualifier.

-- Maryvale boys bowling: Flyers punch ticket to states as first Section VI Division II champion in style by finishing with second-highest pin total of the entire tournament (only Division I champion Frontier had a higher score).

-- Park boys basketball. Pioneers enter postseason having won 11 of their last 12 games.

-- St. Mary's of Lancaster hockey. First year back in the Federation after a hiatus, the Lancers end state. No. 1-small-school St. Francis' season in the Niagara Cup quarterfinals.

-- Williamsville East swimming. Flames cap nice week in which they placed first at the Class Tournament by winning 200 medley and 400 relay events at Friday night's Section VI meet.

-- Williamsville South basketball. Boys team clinched fourth-straight division title, while girls team went into Saturday's marquee clash against Cardinal O'Hara having won nine of its last 10 games.

Honor roll

Alden swimming, Allegany-Limestone girls basketball, Amherst girls basketball, Amherst girls bowling, Bishop Timon-St. Jude basketball, Canisius hockey, Canisius squash, Cheektowaga indoor track, Clarence/Amherst/Sweet Home girls hockey, Clarence boys bowling, Clarence girls basketball, Clarence rifle, East boys basketball, East Aurora girls basketball, East Aurora swimming, Ellicottville boys basketball, Falconer wrestling, Frewsburg boys bowling, Gowanda boys basketball, Gowanda girls bowling, Grand Island hockey, Grand Island wrestling, Hamburg swimming, Health Sciences boys basketball, Holland/East Aurora girls track and field, Iroquois girls basketball, John F. Kennedy boys basketball, Kenmore East girls basketball, Lackawanna boys basketball, Lake Shore girls basketball, Lancaster hockey, Lancaster-Iroquois-Depew girls hockey, Lancaster girls basketball, Lancaster girls bowling, Lancaster indoor track, Lancaster rifle, Lockport boys basketball, Lockport girls basketball, Lockport boys and girls bowling, Maryvale girls bowling, Medina boys basketball, Monsignor Martin girls hockey, Mt. St. Mary girls basketball, Nardin squash, Newfane boys basketball, Newfane girls basketball, Newfane wrestling, Niagara Falls boys basketball, Niagara Falls boys and girls bowling, Nichols boys hockey, Nichols girls hockey, Nichols girls squash, Olean boys basketball, Orchard Park girls basketball, Orchard Park hockey, Panama girls basketball, Pioneer boys and girls bowling, Randolph boys basketball, Sacred Heart girls basketball, St. Francis bowling, St. Francis hockey, St. Francis wrestling, St. Joe's hockey, St. Joe's wrestling, Southwestern girls basketball, Sweet Home boys hockey, Tapestry boys basketball, West Seneca East hockey, West Seneca West hockey, West Seneca West track, Williamsville girls hockey.

The final Power 10 for the winter will run following the completion of the playoffs.

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