The Kenmore East Bulldogs of Section VI defeated the Skaneateles Lakers of Section III, 3-2 in overtime, to win the
NYSPHAA Division II Hockey State Championship Sunday afternoon at the HarborCenter. The Bulldogs knocked off the defending Division II State Champ and won their first title since 2012.
“As an eighth grader he rode the bus with us to Utica” said the Head Coach. Trevor was the only one on this team who was around the 2012 State Champion Bulldogs. He was just dreaming of maybe being in their shoes one day.
Fast forward to March 31st, 2015, Trevor Pray announced, after playing his junior year with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres, that he would come back and play for Kenmore East for his senior year. 348 days later it looks like he made a pretty good choice. Pray has been the heart and soul of this team, especially in the post season, scoring 17 goals in 6 games. It was only fitting that he scored the game winner in OT Sunday to win the State Title.
Most of the game had been a defensive struggle with both goalies making big saves. The deadlock wasn’t broken Reece Eddy and Devin Callahan found Junior Reggie Buell to give the Lakers the 1-0 lead with 4 minutes left in the 2nd period, shorthanded. Heading into the locker room Kenmore East was in an unusual position, losing. In the third, the Bulldogs stepped up all thanks to a twisted back hand shot by Russ Riggio. The Lakers then responded back less than 2 minutes later. Eddy got a 2nd assist on a Ray Falso goal to take back the lead. However, the Dogs were not going away. Senior AJ Marinelli found Pray to tie the game back up with 5 minutes left.
The Championship game went to overtime where both teams went back and forth with chances and many began to think we might be in for a long night. But in storybook fashion, for maybe the millionth time since playing together as 7 and 8 year olds, Marinelli to Pray struck again, this time for the game-winner to take home the State Championship with 40.1 seconds left in the 1st overtime.
Senior Brad Hermann had an unusually busy day in the net. But the senior stood tall in net stopping 30 of 32 shots. Hermann made the Division II All-tournament team. Trevor Pray not only made the All-tournament team but was also named the its MVP. His Head Coach and father, was named Coach of the Year. Joey Spartaro made the Division II All-tournament team too.
Kenmore East won its 2nd State Title in the first ever NYSPHAA Hockey Championships hosted in Buffalo. The Championship Tournament is scheduled to stay in Buffalo (at the HarborCenter) through 2018.