Smooth skaters. Crafty playmakers. Hard shooters. Puck stoppers.
There isn’t a shortage of talent in the Western New York Varsity Hockey Federation among the boys. Here are some of the players to watch as the games start to become even more meaningful with teams jockeying for playoff positioning in hopes of turning championship dreams into reality.
Mitchell Floccare, St. Joe’s: The leading scorer in Division I with 21 points is a smooth skating defenseman with a solid hockey IQ. He scored three of his nine goals in pre-Christmas win over Original Eight rival Williamsville North – prompting some folks in the stands to salute the feat by tossing Santa hats onto the ice.
Peyton Siegmann, Niagara Wheatfield: The second team all-state goaltender has overcome a shaky start and is playing better. “He seems to be more focused; When he’s on, you have to really work to beat him,” NW coach Rick Wrazin said.
Brendan Krawcyzk, St. Mary’s: Senior forward is strong on his skates and has nice vision on the ice. He leads defending Niagara Cup champions in goals.
Sammy Nichols, Canisius: The 6-1 junior defenseman has a strong shot and rarely gets drawn out of position. Did we mention the size of the lad?
Trevor Galante or Joe Fronczak, St. Joe’s: The Marauders have a good problem in that they have two of the top goaltenders in the league. Fronczak leads the Fed in save percentage (.970) and goals-against average (0.60), while Galante follows with (0.60) and .960).
Ethan Yotter, Kenmore West: Decisions, decisions. West has three of top four scorers. Yotter (29 points) is strong, tough to handle down low.
Michael Barker, Kenmore West: A playmaker and finisher, Barker (26 points) is fast and sees the ice well. Has scored a Fed-best 16 goals.
Chase Chodkowski, West Seneca West: Was team’s offensive MVP last year when Indians won Section VI title en route to state runner-up finish. On a team with lots of depth at forward, he currently shares team-lead in points (23) with Billy Coughlin.
John Glascoe, Bishop Timon-St. Jude: The do-it-all, solid two-way forward thinks game well. Has ability to slow game down. After being one of the Tigers’ top scorers last year, he currently leads them with 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists).
Jason Melanson, Williamsville East: The 6-foot-2 junior is rather fearless when it comes to driving the net. He has 12 goals, 19 points and a good shot.
Dylan Russo, Grand Island: Russo is a speedy playmaker for a Vikings crew that’s unbeaten in league play. He has 22 points.
Tyler Hunt, Grand Island: Same description as above with the differences being that Hunt has 21 points and a team-high 10 goals.
Rivalry Monday is near
While school is off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21 serves as league rivalry day with five of the six tilts taking place one after the other at HarborCenter beginning with St. Mary’s versus Lancaster at 9 a.m.
The games that follow at HarborCenter: Timon vs. St. Francis, 11:15 a.m.; West Seneca East vs. West Seneca West 1:30 p.m.; Kenmore West vs. Kenmore East, 3:45 p.m., Canisius vs. St. Joe’s, 6 p.m.
The lone rivalry game not taking place at HarborCenter has Orchard Park visiting Frontier at the Nike Base Hamburg Town Rink at 5 p.m.
The Section VI Tournament begins Feb. 14 with the Super Sunday championship tripleheader set for Feb. 24 at KeyBank Center.
NYSPHSAA Division II: (Sweet Home).
Section VI: Niagara Wheatfield (Division I), West Seneca West (Division II).
Niagara Cup (St. Mary’s).