Steelers win 14U Bantam title at 34th annual ‘Tough as Steele’ hockey tournament at Steele Hall

‘Tough as Steele’ tourney continues

OBSERVER Photo by Ron Szot Dunkirk-Fredonia Steelers skater Owen Rush celebrates during a 12U Peewee hockey game at Steele Hall Ice Arena at SUNY Fredonia on Saturday.

Steele Hall was the place to be on Saturday, as the Tough as Steele youth hockey tournament continued. The day was full of action, as seven games took place, with age groups ranging from Bantam to Squirt. The day was highlighted with the Steelers Bantam team winning the championship, and younger Steeler Squirt and Peewee teams battling for their chance at a trophy today.

Here is a look at Saturday’s games:

Fredonia Madurski 3,

Fredonia Hazelton team 2 (Squirt)

The day opened up with a back and forth thriller. Both teams were kept off the scoresheet in the first period. The second period was quite different, as three minutes in, Madurski opened the scoring as Shane Ferguson found the back of the net with Brady Himelein getting the helper. The lead was short lived, as a minute and a half later Hazelton’s David Girdlestone Jr. scored. After the equalizer, it was tied until the end of the second, when Girdlestone found his second tally of the game giving Hazelton a 2-1 lead headed into the third. Hazelton held the one goal lead throughout the third until with four minutes to go, Ayden Wronski found the back of the net to tie it at 2-2. Madurski was not done yet, with less than a minute remaining Wronski found his second tally of the game, giving them a 3-2 lead.

OBSERVER Photo by Ron Szot The 14U Dunkirk-Fredonia Steelers celebrate after capturing the 14U bantam division tournament championship.

NCCYHA Steelers 4,

East Aurora 3 (Peewee)

In the second game of the day the visiting team jumped out early, with East Aurora scoring first. East Aurora opened the scoring, halfway through the first period as Trent Tripp scored with assist courtesy of Ben Molnar.

Trailing after the first period the Steelers picked it up in the second period as they struck first on a goal from Brady Crawford, assisted by Nolan Olson and Brayden Bugaj. The score was level for only thirty seconds as Molnar found a goal of his own, returning the lead to East Aurora. The second saw one last back and forth as the Steelers grabbed an equalizer from Owen Rush assisted by Bugaj. Similar to the first Steeler goal it was met with an immediate response as Sam Ervin gave East Aurora a goal and the lead headed to the third, 3-2.

Down by a goal, the Steelers needed a big third period, and that’s exactly what they got.

OBSERVER Photo by Ron Szot Dunkirk-Fredonia skater Brady Crawford moves the puck up-ice during a 12U Peewee hockey game at Steele Hall Ice Arena at SUNY Fredonia on Saturday.

Nathan Sercu scored in the opening minute as Bugaj found his third assist of the game with the secondary coming from Jacob Majka. The score stayed tied until Brady Crawford netted the game winner late in the period on an assist from Canyon Bellis, 4-3.

Lockport Monsters 4, Batavia Ramparts 2 (Peewee)

The game was tight throughout the first two periods as the score was tied 1-1. Lockport got their first goal from Lucius Wagner with the assist coming from Carter Cassiol. While Batavia got their goal from Jameson Motyka.

Lockport took control in the third period as they came out flying scoring three goals in quick succession. Ohle Patrick netted two goals 15 seconds apart, with both coming in the opening minute of the period, assists went to Jefferey Vallone and Anthony Aiello. The Monsters added to their lead a minute later when Aiello found the back of the net for himself, this time with the assist going to Patrick. Batavia didn’t give up as they found a late goal from Motyka in the final minute. The Ramparts goal was too little too late as they fell, 4-2.

NCCYHA Steelers 4, East Aurora 3 OT (Bantam Championship)

The lone championship game of the day was between the Steelers and East Aurora in the Bantam division. The visitors East Aurora opened the scoring early in the first as Ethan Healy scored in the first 30 seconds from Connor Dannecker.

The Steelers trailed for a period as they found their response early in the second period. Kameron Mages netted the first Steeler goal with assists coming from Trevor Persch and Alexander Paluch. The game stayed tied for a while until the visitors were able to regain the lead late in the period. Braden Trent returned the lead to East Aurora on an assist from Jack Ervin, 2-1.

Trailing by a goal in the championship, the Steelers needed to dig deep in the final period. The period got off on the wrong foot as East Aurora capitalized early on a Jack Ervin goal, giving them a two goal lead, 3-1. The Steelers did not give up and battled back, they found their breath of life from Paluch with four minutes left in the period, unassisted. The Steelers, energized from the goal by Paluch, quickly netted the tying goal as Brandon Wronski got a goal assisted by Paluch and Gabriel Hellwig. After the tying goal from Wronski both teams stayed deadlocked at 3-3, making overtime necessary.

The Steelers battled a near three full minutes before they were able to earn the championship. With the game on his stick, Trevor Persch found the back of the net, giving the NCCYHA Steelers the Bantam division championship, 4-3 in overtime. Tate Olson was credited with the assist.

Jamestown Lakers 7, Fredonia Madurski 6 (Squirt)

The visiting Lakers came out ready to play as they were buzzing all around Fredonia. However, it would be the hosts to strike first, with Brody Himelein finding the back of the net with an assist coming from Ayden Wronski. Jamestown responded quick, getting goals from Ezekiel Padd and Theonis Singleton in a span of a few minutes, among the scoresheet for assists were Ture Fagerstrom, Singleton and Cooper Smith. The Lakers narrowly brought a one goal lead to the second period, but Himelein had other plans as he skated coast to coast, then sent a shot over the blocker with a second left on the clock, tying the score at 2-2.

The second period was an exchange of leads with the Lakers striking first on a shot from Smith assisted by Blake Milks. That lead was short lived as two goals came 15 seconds apart for Madurski, first a goal from Amato Fadale assisted by Wronski then Wronski found one of his own. The back and forth period continued as the Lakers responded two minutes later when Mikael Anderson scored a pair of unassisted goals 30 seconds apart, giving the Lakers a 5-4 lead.

Madurski trailed entering the third period, needing a big push, they were able to get it on a goal from Shane Ferguson assisted by Himelein, tying the game at 5-5. The tie was short lived as Milks got his first goal 15 seconds later, assisted by Mikael Anderson and Mason Degnan.

Madurski didn’t give up and continued to push back eventually finding another equalizer, from Wronski again for his second. But everytime Madurski got hope of coming back the Lakers had an answer. The eventual game winner came off the stick of Nilla Ecklof as she beat the goalie between the wickets, giving the Lakers a 7-6 lead that they carried to victory.

Batavia Ramparts 7, NCCYHA Steelers 6 (Peewee)

The Ramparts came out hungry to clinch a spot in today’s PeeWee finals. The Ramparts grabbed an early lead off a goal from Bronx Buchholz on a two on one. Batavia’s second goal came late in the period when Brady Johnson sniped the top corner, giving the Ramparts a 2-0 lead after one.

The Steelers woke up in the second period, getting an unassisted shorthanded goal from Nathan Sercu. The momentum quickly swung back to Batavia as they found a goal minutes later from Buchholz again with the assists coming from Samuel Pies and Jameson Motyka. The Ramparts lead grew as Jakob Hutchins cashed in from Motyka, making it 4-1. The Steelers found life late as Owen Rush sent a lazer from the point top corner with one second left on the clock, making it 4-2.

In the third period the Ramparts and Steelers exchanged blows, seeing four goals scored in the first four minutes, before you could blink it was 6-4 in favor of Batavia. The Ramparts closed out the hopes of the Steelers late in the period as Samuel Pies restored the Ramparts three goal lead, 7-4. The Steelers did not give up scoring two goals but were unable to get the tying goal. Steeler goals came from Brayden Bugaj twice and Brady Crawford late.

Lockport Monsters 6, East Aurora 2 (Peewee)

The Steelers needed a Lockport loss having tied them Friday, 2-2. Unfortunately, it was Lockport all early as they jumped out to an early lead that was never surrendered.

Today, the Fredonia Madurski team takes on the Fredonia Hazelton team at 8 a.m. for a chance at the Squirt championship against Jamestown at 2:45 p.m. The Peewee championship is between Lockport and Batavia at 1 p.m.