Canisius knocks Lancaster out of the hunt for first place; Clarence locks up Division I
On the facility’s Olympic Rink, Canisius Crusaders forward Greg Marsh scored the game-winning goal at 12:18 in the third period, breaking up a 3-3 tie with the Lancaster Redskins (7-4-1). It didn’t take long for the news to make its way to the Feature Rink, on which the Clarence Red Devils were in the late stages of a 5-1 victory over the Williamsville North Spartans.
When the final horn sounded on the Feature Rink, the Red Devils (9-4) secured the top spot in Division I and in the large-school postseason.
“It’s hard to get there,” said Red Devils head coach Rich Brooks, referring to the race to first place.
If the tables would have been turned – a Red Devils loss, coupled with a Redskins victory – Lancaster, which has a game in hand, would have jumped ahead of Clarence in the standings. But as it worked out, Clarence advanced to an 18-15 advantage in total points, making it impossible for Lancaster to get past No. 2 in the division.
“To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about Lancaster until about half way through the third period,” Brooks said. “And then, around the 10-minute mark, we were playing pretty good and I looked up at the athletic trainer and I said, ‘You know what, I have no idea what’s going on in the other rink.’
“And our trainer said, ‘Well, I went over in between periods and it was 3-3.’ After that, I kind of let it go. But then with about one minute to go, for some reason I looked over to my right and our athletic director, Greg Kaszubski, was up there and signaled the 4-3 score to me, then giving me a thumbs up – so that was kind of cool.”
By securing the top seed in the postseason, the Red Devils will face the Lockport Lions (0-13) Feb. 16 at the Northtowns Center at Amherst. Faceoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Freelance sportswriter Charles Roberts covers the WNY Varsity Hockey Federation for MetroWNY.com. Reach him at ChRobert3@aol.com or @cHartleyRoberts on Twitter.