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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: NYSAHA - Midget - CP Dynamo 3, Tonawanda 1

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

NYSAHA - Midget - CP Dynamo 3, Tonawanda 1

SARATOGA SPRINGS – For the Clifton Park Dynamo U16 midget ice hockey team it was ‘win and you’re in’ while the Tonawanda Lightning had to win, with authority if they had any hopes of advancing to today’s New York State Amateur Hockey Association state championship semifinals at the Weibel Avenue Rink.

Clifton Park held off an aggressive Tonawanda squad and advanced to the semifinal with a 3-1 win over the Lightning, but not without a fight.

Tonawanda coach Tom Diehl said the tournament hadn’t seen the best out of his Lightning squad during their two previous losses, but the team came out aggressive and ready to skate.

The Dynamo took a one goal lead at 12:37 of the first period when Michael Kenny put back Anthony Delzotto’s shot that deflected off the pads of Tonawanda’s P.J. Bluff.

The lead was short lived after John Maloney stole the puck at center ice and raced in on Clifton Park netminder Shane Robichaud and wristed the puck over the goalie’s shoulder, knotting the contest at one apiece.

The two teams traded shots, shifts and barbs with each other before the action bubbled to a boil in the third period.

With everything on the line, tempers flared and an neither team could find a solution, pushing and shoving became the norm between the two teams. In the third period, five roughing penalties were assessed between the two squads.

As time wound down, it appeared that the two combatants would have to settle for a tie in regulation, but forward Conrad Bernard negated that as an option, breaking away with the puck and firing on P.J. Bluff.

“We were on the penalty kill and I skated across the center line and intercepted it at mid-ice,” Bernard said. “I skated in and backhanded off the side of his pad and Freddie (Brian Frederick) was there to put it in.”

The Lightning remained aggressive, pulling Bluff for a man-advantage and focusing the action down in the Dynamo zone. Clifton Park managed to skate the puck up ice, but couldn’t find the empty net and Tonawanda raced back up the ice.

“You’re scared when you see them come back at you,” Dynamo goaltender Shane Robichaud said. “It’s like an ESPN highlight reel where a team misses the empty net and they come back and score. I didn’t let that happen.”

Tonawanda was again thwarted by the Dynamos and a Clifton Park-friendly post in the final moments, releasing the puck again towards the Lightning end. This time, the puck had an escort and Jake Hendrickson was able to beat the Tonawanda defender who jumped in front of the goal. Hendrickson deked the skater and slipped it past for his second empty-net goal of the tournament, this time with an assist from Derek Discanio with 9.4 seconds left in the contest.

“Today was a very good hockey game for us,” Tonawanda head coach Tom Diehl said. “This is the second game in a row we outshot them but couldn’t get the bounces or finish our chances.”

After two disappointing loss and needing a lot of help to advance, the Lightning skated as aggressive as they had in the tournament, matching up well against the Dynamo’s speed.

“I’m not surprised how good a game it was,” Dynamo coach Brad Shaver said. “It was a playoff game and everyone has a shot. It was a great game for the kids and the fans, but not for me.”

Clifton Park will take on the top team from Division II at 11 a.m. today in the tournament’s second semifinal.

The Dynamos will have to become more effective in less than 24 hours if they hope to advance to the 5 p.m. finale.

“We discussed finishing our scoring opportunities,” Shaver said. “We’re getting some good scoring chances, but finishing has been our nemesis lately.”

The state champion earns a berth in the USA Hockey Tier II National Championship tournament April 2 to 6 in Buffalo.

“Tomorrow will be our toughest game all year,” Shaver said.

First period scoring:
1. Clifton Park, Michael Kenny (Anthony Delzotto), 12:37. 2. Tonawanda, John Maloney (Paul Tatu), 14:47.
Penalties: Clifton Park – (Slashing), 7:34. Tonawanda – John Barrick (cross checking), 16:44; Jim Tronolone (interference), :03.

Second period scoring: None.
Penalties: Clifton Park – (Slashing), 7:13; (Hooking), 4:54. Tonawanda – Dan Marcotte (roughing), 11:36; Christian Panepinto (tripping), 3:54. John Maloney (cross checking), 2:26.

Third period scoring: 3. Clifton Park, Brian Frederick (Conrad Bernard), 1:02. 4. Clifton Park, Jake Hendrickson (Derek Discanio), :9.4, empty net.
Penalties: Clifton Park – Anthony Delzotto (boarding), :31; David Ferris (roughing), 1:23; Michael Kenny (roughing), 6:24; Conrad Bernard (roughing to the head), 11:56. Tonawanda – Christian Panepinto (roughing), 1:23; Greg Kapodistria (roughing), 6:24.

Clifton Park 1 0 2 – 3
Tonawanda 1 0 0 – 1
Goalie saves: Clifton Park,
Shane Robichaud 28 saves. Tonawanda, P.J. Bluff, 25 saves.

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