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High school hockey: Niagara Falls’ Cinderella story falls short

Wolverines had been looking for second-straight upset win

By David Yarger

In front of an excited crowd at HarborCenter in Buffalo, the No. 1-ranked Williamsville North Spartans defeated the Niagara Falls Wolverines by a score of 5-0 on Wednesday.

The loss ended the Wolverines season. The team pulled one of the biggest upsets in the prior round, defeating No. 2 Orchard Park.

The win for Williamsville North helped it reach a fourth straight sectional title game.

Williamsville North was clearly the more dominant team. The Spartans showed why they’re No. 1 as they outshot Niagara Falls 48-12. It seemed like majority of the game was played in the Wolverines zone.

At the end of the first period the score was 1-0. Niagara Falls was outshot 16-2. Andrew Bruno notched his seventh point of the playoffs, putting the puck past goaltender Patrick Sisler for what would be the game-winner.

By the end of the second period the shots on goal count was 34-6 in favor of North. Griffen Green scored the first of his three goals just 1:25 into the period. Tyler Durfee added another goal late in the period, and the teams went to the locker room with the score 3-0 Spartans.

In a chippy third period that saw several penalties, Niagara Falls attempted to put pressure on North. But nothing got past Spartans’ goalie Jake Zurat, who finished with 12 saves in the shutout.

Green added two more dazzling goals for his hat trick. One was a snipe over Sisler’s shoulder, and next was a backhand over Sisler that somehow found the back of the net.

Will North fans threw a couple hats on the ice to celebrate the feat, and the team celebrated the 5-0 victory.

Niagara Falls’ bright spot was senior goaltender Sisler, who made 43 saves and stole more goals away from the Spartans.

The Spartans will look to defend their title. They defeated Niagara-Wheatfield High School 1-0 last year.

Williamsville North will face off with the Lancaster Legends, who defeated Niagara-Wheatfield on Tuesday night. The teams played twice in the regular season, splitting the season series.

The championship game will be played at the KeyBank Center at 6:15 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27. Admission will cost $5.

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