Weekly Feature

2018-01-03 / Sports

Hockey team tops Ken East


Games that haven’t ended in ties have tended to be decided by a single goal most of the time so far this season for Clarence’s hockey team, but that wasn’t the case Thursday when the Red Devils faced Kenmore East in non-league action.

Clarence broke out of its pattern in its final game of 2017, exploding for five goals in the third period – including three during a stretch that lasted just over four minutes – to secure a 6-2 victory over the Bulldogs. Nicholas Sykas scored what would be the game-winning goal – his first goal of the year – two minutes after Ben Langlotz’s shot from the point just 1:30 into the frame knotted the score at 2-2, while Noah Corry added an unassisted insurance tally with 6:31 to play.

Adam Zaffram’s goal with 3:22 to play helped dash any thoughts of a comeback by East, while Brady Carlson’s tally a little more than a minute later essentially sealed the decision.

“That was a great third period for us in which we did everything we needed to,” coach Rick Brooks said. “We desperately needed a win, and it was great that we were able to find a way to overcome a deficit at the start of the third period to do that. We hadn’t had that kind of a goal outburst all season long, so that was good to see. And Noah’s goal in particular was huge in a season where we’re constantly giving up the lead after we take it.”

Clarence, which finished with a 3-to-1 advantage in the shots department for the game, tied the contest at 1-1 with 6:09 left in the second period on Zaffram’s first goal of the game. Zaffram scored off a pass from David Cosentino just as a Clarence power play was about to expire.

Isaac Petrella earned the team’s first win of the year between the pipes for Clarence, which was playing for the first time since recording a 2-2 tie with Canisius on Dec. 22.

The Red Devils had both a 1-0 and 2-1 lead over the course of the contest and finished with a 23-20 advantage in shots on goal, but the Crusaders still found a way to respond whenever they needed to in order to take the game to overtime. The tying goal four minutes into the third period was especially frustrating for Brooks, who noted that “we had lots of opportunities to prevent that goal as they came down the ice, but we didn’t.”

“It was a pretty even game across the board, but they kind of handled us pretty well in the second period,” Brooks said. “They put us back on our heels a bit in that period, which isn’t how you want to play with the lead.”

The game’s first three goals all came in a flurry that lasted all of 48 seconds near the midway point of the first period. Nick Modeas scored with 8:07 on the clock off a pass from Max Kempton, but Clarence’s first lead lasted all of 32 seconds before Canisius tied it at 1-1. Unlike in previous games, however, it was the Red Devils who wasted little time in answering as Corry popped in the team’s second goal just 16 seconds later off passes from Cosentino and Justin Zulewski.

The Red Devils (1-3-3, 0-3-3 Fed Division I) return to action Thursday against St. Joe’s, which isn’t exactly the ideal opponent to face when looking to start a winning streak. But, Brooks believes his players know what needs to be done to give themselves a shot at victory.

“Joe’s doesn’t usually make any mistakes, so I’m hoping our success against Kenmore East will help us to compete Thursday,” Brooks said. “They’ve given up the fewest goals in the league, so we’re going to have to play a sound positional game defensively and not give up any breaks if we want to have a chance at winning.”

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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