Bisons Head to NationalsBuffalo Bisons win the U12, U14, U16 State Tier I girls hockey Championships.
All three of the Buffalo Bisons girls teams are off to the USA Hockey Tier I National Championships in Marlborough MA after winning their respective New York State Championships. Six games took place Saturday March 17th in Buffalo at the North Buffalo ice rink on Tacoma Avenue with teams competing from Buffalo, Syracuse and Long Island. The U12 State Championship between the Buffalo Bisons and the Syracuse Nationals was a nail biting contest that required an extra period and a shoot out to decide a winner. In game one both teams played to a 0-0 tie with multiple scoring opportunities coming for both teams. Both teams’ goalies played spectacular. Jada Brennon was in net for the Buffalo team. In game two, after a scoreless first period there was a extremely high level of anxiety in the entire rink with hundreds of spectators. Both teams had gone 4 periods without a goal being scored and everyone knew any goal scored at this point could be the eventual winner. In the second period Syracuse broke the ice and added an additional goal in a short span of 3 minutes putting Buffalo in a significant hole being down 2-0. The Buffalo team answered immediately on a goal by Coaty Ostendorf getting her team back in the contest. In the very next shift Ostendorf again took matters into her own hands and tied the game on a shot from below the goal line off the Syracuse goalie’s back. Regulation time ended with both teams being tied 2-2. A 15-minute mini game was then played with neither team scoring and setting up a five player shoot out. Buffalo scored on three of their five shots with goals going to Ostendorf, Olivia Smith and Allie Banas getting the clincher. The Syracuse team scored twice but was unable to get a third past Jada Brennon who had another great game for the Bisons. The U14 State Championship was a bit more calm affair although the games provided for some equally exciting hockey. Game one saw the U14 Bisons who are ranked number five in the nation at Tier I get out to a early lead on a goal from Lexi Skibitski only to have Syracuse tie it up on a power play goal. Reilly Johnson then scored two in a row to put the Bisons up 3-1 and in relative control of the game after two periods. The final goal was scored by Olivia Zafuto making it 4-1 and putting the game out of reach for Syracuse with little time to play. Rachel Farmer played goal for the Bisons. In the second game Sarah Wolf got the Bisons off to a quick start scoring on the first shift of the game. Abby Cleary added a power play goal to put the Bisons up 2-0 and then came back shortly after and scored her second of the game putting the Bisons up 3-0 at the end of one period. After a scoreless second period Caroline Ross and Oliva Zafuto both scored in the third to close out the game with the Bisons winning 5-0 and taking home the trophy. Bailey Lewczyk played goal for the Bisons in the second game and earned the shutout. The Buffalo Bisons U16 team ranked 2nd in the nation hosted the 37th ranked Long Island Lady Islanders for the NY State Championship. The match up in the two games were not very close as indicated by the score with the Bisons winning 15-0 and 13-0. However, regardless of the score, the games were played with great sportsmanship and the highest level of respect given from both teams. The Long Island Lady Islanders team which is made up of a number of under age girls traveled to Buffalo knowing they were at a huge disadvantage to the number two ranked team in the country. Both coaches commentated after the games on the friendliness of the competition and that they both were happy in the way each of their teams conducted themselves on and off the ice given the situation. All three teams move on to compete in Boston for the Tier I Nationals that begin March 28th.