Niagara Gazette — The Niagara-Wheatfield Falcons flew out of the gate Monday at the First Niagara Center, using a quick start to overwhelm the Clarence Red Devils and cruise to a 7-2 win and their second straight Section VI Public School Division I federation hockey championship.
The Falcons set the tone from the opening faceoff. Anthony Veckich, Mike Parisi and Matt Peters each had big hits in an opening shift that ended with N-W taking a lead just 0:51 into the game after Frank Vecchio cashed in a rebound off a shot from Domenic Senese.
"(We) came ready to go today," N-W coach Rick Wrazin said. "(We're) a tough team to read, but (we) brought it today.
"Clarence is a very good team, but I think nerves got the best of them. They're known as a strong, fast, physical hockey team, and we wanted to show them we could be just as physical."
Clarence would tie the game on the power play at the 6:49 mark. With Peters in the box for hooking, Matt Colicchia snuck a rebound through N-W goalie Nate Sommers' legs. It was one of the few times the Red Devils would solve Sommers, who finished with 32 saves.
"We did a good job of keeping them outside and not giving them a lot of chances in tight," Wrazin said. "When he can see it and we can clean up the front of the net, he's a very strong goaltender. He stopped everything he should have (Monday)."
The Falcons retook the lead 7:20 in off the stick of Justin Durkee, who floated a weak shot past Clarence goaltender Devin Paluh from the slot. Ryan Logar and Matt Paonessa were credited with assists.
Anthony Merante scored a goal on a high wrister from the slot at the 10:49 mark, and Senese added a dagger with just 13 seconds left in the period when he made a nice move around a Clarence defenseman and fired a long wrist shot blocker side into the back of the net to give the Falcons a 4-1 lead after one.