Niagara Gazette

Sports

February 19, 2014

N-W hockey earns another trip to Fed final

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Niagara-Wheatfield responded at the 11:22 mark of the second with a power-play tally of its own. With Max Herud off for high sticking, Troy Pulli unleashed a rocket from the point and it found the back of the net after dodging several bodies.

Matt Paonessa widened the Falcons’s gap to 3-1 with 2:24 left by burying a rebound. Justin Durkee assisted on the goals and added an empty-netter in the closing seconds.

Wrazin said once his team took the lead early in the third he considered going into a defensive shell to protect the lead. But after seeing his team pick up the play after a slow first period, he opted against that.

“We stayed on them,” Wrazin said. “Going into the game we talked about a lot of puck pressure and puck possession in their end. We wanted to stay with what was working.”

Preceding the game on the same rink was the other Large School semifinal, which saw top-seeded Williamsville North take care of sixth-seeded Frontier, 3-0.

It sets up a rematch of the 2012 finals, which the Falcons won, 4-0. This year’s “Super Monday” game between the Falcons and Spartans will commence at 8:30 p.m. Monday.

The two teams also squared off in the 2009 and 2010 finals. N-W won in 2009 before Will. North returned the favor the next year. It’s created quite the rivalry.

“It would make it so sweet if we beat them,” Connelly said of playing the Spartans, who beat the Falcons in both of their matchups this year. “We want them, we don’t want anybody else.

“If we win again that would just be awesome,” Connelly added. “We would be sending a message to all the schools in the state.”

Follow contributing reporter Aaron Garland on Twitter @AA_Garland.

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