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Live from Super Monday hockey: Niagara-Wheatfield wins second straight Div. I title

By Miguel Rodriguez

Clarence meets defending Federation (Section VI) Large School hockey champion Niagara-Wheatfield in the first of three games here today at First Niagara Center.

The Federation Small School Final is supposed to start at 6 p.m. and feature West Seneca West against Williamsville East. The Niagara Cup Final, formerly known as Federation Catholic Playoff final, starts at 8 p.m. or so featuring Bishop Timon against St. Joe's.


First period

N-W needs just 51 seconds to take 1-0 lead. Frank Vecchio II knocks in own rebound following a transition rush off Red Devils' neutral zone turnover.

On power play, Clarence ties it at 1 with 8:11 left on goal by Matt Colicchia.

Just 31 seconds later, N-W strikes again. Justin Durkee's change up from slot slips past Clarence goalie Devin Paluh. N-W leads, 2-1.

With 4:11 left in period, Anthony Merante finishes off 2 on 1 rush with goal for N-W to make it 3-1. Domenic Senese made nice pass on belly while being knocked down by backchecker to keep scoring chance alive. N-W leads, 3-1

Senese scores with 12.4 seconds left to make it 4-1 N-W.

After one period, Niagara-Wheatfield leads 4-1.

Observations: Clarence goalie has given up a couple he'd like back (perhaps jitters of being in the final and in First Niagara Center). This is Clarence's first final, while N-W has already won two titles and this is its fourth final appearance. Can't discount past experience being in this game.

We'll be back in a few.

Second period

Wow, computer freeze and unwanted update installation on reboot causes some problems I apologize for but in any event, Clarence had a couple chances early in period and didn't cash. Now Niagara-Wheatfield has blown it wide open, so much so that the N-W faithful began a goal-count chant similar to those rare times when the Sabres win on home ice in blow-out fashion.

With 7:41 left, Matt Paonessa scores on PP for N-W to make it 5-1.

Just 48 seconds later, Domenic Senese scores his second of the game with a nifty redirection of a pass into the goal-mouth area by Matthew Peters.

With 5:11 left, on another power play, Senese completes the hat trick knocking in a pass in the blue paint from Vecchio to make it 7-1 N-W.

End of period, Niagara-Wheatfield is just 15 minutes away from another coronation as it leads Clarence 7-1.

Third period

N-W is just trying to steer the bus into the garage nice and safely.

With 4:15 left, N-W fans start doing the Na, Na, good-bye serenade.

With 3:50 left, Clarence's Frank Willhauck scores to cut N-W lead to 7-2.

Niagara-Wheatfield wins its second straight title, this time by 7-2 score. Falcons will face Section IV champion Ithaca in state quarterfinal on Saturday at Northtown Center in Amherst.


Clarence | Hockey | Niagara-Wheatfield
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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

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