Victor bounces Schroeder, Penfield bombards McQuaid in Class A hockey semifinals
On a night when offense was hard to come by, someone was going to need a fortunate bounce to win the first of the two Section V Class A hockey semifinal games Thursday at RIT’s Polisseni Center.
Undefeated Victor got the bounce, and then it got another, and that was enough to come away with a 2-0 victory over gritty Webster Schroeder.
The top-seeded Blue Devils will take on third-seeded Penfield, 7-4 winners in the nightcap over McQuaid. That game will be played at 8 p.m. Monday at RIT.
“We talked between the second and third periods and we just said, ‘Be confident, we’re OK, we’ll figure it out,’ ” Victor coach Mike Ferreri said. “It’s a 0-0 game, Section V semifinals, be excited and play with some passion.”
After more than 36 scoreless minutes, with goalies Chayse Ierlan of Victor and Payton Hall of Schroeder matching save for save, the Blue Devils indeed figured it out.
Cal Lambert fired a shot from the high slot that missed the net barely wide left, and the puck bounced back in front of the net. When Hall couldn’t get control, Jack McCandless was able to knock it past the goalie who had slid out of position.
"It was a great shot off the backboards and I was there in position," said McCandless. "I was in front of the net, it bounced off their goalie, and it came right to me and I put it in."
Fourth-seeded Schroeder (13-7) seemed to have the better of the play in the first two periods, but Ierlan — as he has been all season — was the best player on the ice. He had 22 saves through two periods, several of them outstanding.
"Chayse Ierlan," said Ferreri of his senior goalie, who made 30 saves altogether. "That second period, Chayse made two or three saves that were jaw-dropping saves. It could have been a different story after the second period, but that's why he is who he is."
Victor (18-0-4) didn’t need another goal, but five and a half minutes later, it got one thanks to another fortuitous bounce. Ashton Collazo won a battle for a loose puck near center ice, chipped it past a Schroeder defender, then took a shot from the right circle that was tipped into the air and the puck fluttered up and over Hall’s shoulder for the clinching goal.
“Payton is a great competitor and he makes some unbelievable saves,” said Schroeder coach Steve Parshall. “He didn’t deserve either of the goals. The first was a lucky bounce, lively boards. I thought we played really well; the players left everything on the ice.
"We wanted to play three solid periods and I thought we did. It was our best game of the season against them.”
After a sluggish, feel-each-other-out first period, Victor should have taken a 1-0 lead into the intermission, but the referee lost sight of the puck during a goal-crease scramble inside the final two seconds and blew a quick whistle. So, even though the puck crossed the line, it was ruled no goal.
In the second period the game opened up and Schroeder — which lost a pair of 5-2 decisions to Victor during the regular season — had the better chances.
With Victor’s Andrew Crean and Tony Prem taking penalties 33 seconds apart, the Warriors had a two-man advantage for 57 seconds. They managed one quality shot during that time, but late in the power play, they nearly scored twice from point-blank range, only to see Ierlan make two huge saves to keep the game scoreless.
Victor put on good pressure during a power-play later in the period, but couldn’t get anything past Hall.
“He’s a great goalie on the other end, so we knew it was going to be a battle,” said Ierlan. “Luckily my D stuck with it and in the third we had a couple bounces go our way.”
Sometimes, that’s all you need.
Unlike the first game, goals came fast and furious in the second contest as Penfield (16-4-2) outgunned second-seeded McQuaid (15-4-1). The Patriots fell behind 1-0 on a first-period goal by Charlie Merkley, but then roared back with three unanswered second-period goals.
Jack Schlifke tied it off a setup from Jake Fox, who corralled his own rebound and fed it out front. Twenty-three seconds later, Andrew Ebersol picked up a loose puck at center, skated in and fired a wrist shot that hit McQuaid goalie Conner Pulli’s shoulder and popped up and landed behind him in the net.
With 2:53 left in the period, Matt Rockhill sent Pulli to the bench with a wrist shot that snuck through the goalie’s pads. Unfortunately for the Knights, David Battisti was unable to stem the tide in the third as Penfield erupted for four more goals.
McQuaid pulled within 3-2 just 28 seconds into the final period on a power-play goal by Zach Lee, but the Patriots answered 1:15 later when Ebersol went end-to-end before wristing one past Battisti.
McQuaid again inched closer 1:22 after that when Merkley tapped in a rebound on a power play, but Penfield had another answer 18 seconds hence as Schlifke caused a turnover down low with a big check, then took a feed from Fox and scored from in close to make it 5-3.
Before the wild period ended, Penfield’s Marco Viola sandwiched a pair of goals around Merkley’s third of the game.
Chayse Ierlan, a two-sport standout in Victor, does his finest work in the community
In blocks of 45 minutes during a Victor High School hockey game, or 48 minutes during a lacrosse game, Chayse Ierlan stands above almost everyone else in uniform, so supreme is his talent as a goaltender in both sports.
Blue Devils fans see him kick out a leg pad to stop a puck, or they see him kick out an unpadded leg, pain be damned, to stop a ball, and when he denies the opposition a goal, over and over and over, they appreciate just how much he has meant to both Victor teams.
There have been so many saves, so many awards and honors, so many victories, and so many championships, a résumé that ranks Ierlan as one of the finest athletes Section V has ever produced. Yet all that success doesn’t come close to truly defining Ierlan, because it’s the things the Cornell-bound senior does when no one is watching, away from his venues of athletic expertise, that give him the greatest sense of pride and accomplishment.
"His talent speaks for itself, his leadership is outstanding, and when he steps on the ice, he brings it to a different level," said Victor hockey coach Mike Ferreri. "He's a special kid, a coach's dream. He's the kid you want to form your team around. But we want our kids to be great hockey players, and we want them to be great people. Kids that are involved and invested in their community, that's what it's all about."
"He would put those things maybe a little higher on his priority list and you would never know that because he’s very humble, very modest, and he’ll never toot his own horn. He does so much for other people, that’s why he’s the person that he is.”
No one is cheering for Ierlan, no one is keeping score, when he takes a shift during the annual Dollars For Scholars phone-a-thon to raise college scholarship money for Victor seniors. Likewise, no one is chanting his name when, as the treasurer of the Victor Cares Club, he helps collect food and puts together snack packs to deliver to people who are in need because perhaps there was a death in the family, someone recently lost a job, or any other hardship that may have knocked at their door.
When it’s time for the annual Victor Cares Carnival in May, right in the middle of lacrosse season, Ierlan joins with other students to put up bounce houses, inflatable slides, a dunk tank, and concession booths, all of which help raise money for more families in need. He coaches and plays Unified basketball as a way to help kids with mental or physical disabilities enjoy a sport they ordinarily could not play in an organized setting. And, as a member of the National Honor Society, he participates in multiple volunteering opportunities, including the pumpkin walk in the community, and planting trees each year on Arbor Day.
"It's a really good feeling to give back and to help people in the community," Ierlan said following practice earlier this week as undefeated Victor was preparing for its Section V Class A hockey semifinal game against Webster Schroeder on Thursday night at RIT. "The coaches really preach giving back. They're educators, too, so they made a pretty big impact on me."
Ierlan certainly isn’t the first athlete to willingly give of his time away from his sport, but he sets himself apart by acknowledging how not everyone is in the same circumstance as him.
“One of the big motivators for me is knowing that I’ve been blessed with some of the things I’ve accomplished, so I want to give back to others,” he said. “I’m lucky enough that I’ll get some financial aid and help (for college), and my brother (T.D.) has gotten scholarships so we’ve been fortunate. But college is expensive, it’s a huge cost, and it’s nice to be able to help other families in the community.”
Victor lacrosse coach Jim Andre, who has guided the Blue Devils to three consecutive state championships, all with Ierlan between the pipes — something only three other schools in the history of New York state high school lacrosse have achieved — bursts with pride when he talks about his goaltender.
“He’s truly a scholar-athlete who does a great job with everything,” said Andre. “He’s a great athlete, but it’s his personality that makes him unique.”
Ierlan's parents, Mike and Karen, were both athletes in their day. Mike played football and ran track at Aquinas, then went to Cortland to study to become a teacher, and today he is a physical education instructor at Martha Brown in Fairport. Karen, a home and careers teacher at Victor, played softball at RIT.
For as long as he can remember, Chayse has been around sports, and from an early age he understood what it’s like to be part of team. Mike Ierlan was the head football coach at Fairport for eight years, and Chayse soaked in the knowledge.
“He’s meant a lot to me, done a lot of good things for me,” Chayse said of his father. “He’s at lacrosse practice every day (as one of Andre’s assistants) trying to help everyone get better. He introduced me to high school athletics when he was coaching football at Fairport. I was around older guys and learned how a team is supposed to work, and he gave me some foundational lessons that stick with me every day.”
And that extended to the classroom, too. Given that both his parents are teachers, education is paramount, and Chayse, his brother T.D. (a sophomore at Albany) and his sister Doyle, a seventh-grader and budding bowling and softball standout, are held to a high academic standard.
As good as he is in hockey, Chayse will be playing lacrosse at Cornell in the fall because, first and foremost, he had the grades to get into an Ivy League institution.
“His parents are great role models for him,” said Ferreri. “They demand excellence and they’re there to support him. They’re always around in the good times and the tough times, and his dad being a longtime coach, he understands all the insides and outs from a coach’s standpoint.”
So, you may ask, why did Chayse choose to allow people to shoot hard rubber objects at him in both sports he plays? Well, he didn’t exactly choose to be a goalie, he sort of fell into it.
“I was always a bigger kid, so it was the stereotypical, ‘throw the biggest kid in net,’ ” he said with a laugh. “We’d pass the goalie stick or the pads around when I first started playing and when it was my turn, I guess I just had a good feel for it and stuck with it.”
With the exception of his junior hockey season when he had to sit out with a knee injury, it's safe to say Ierlan's seen as much rubber as any factory worker at a Goodyear plant. In hockey he's all padded up and only occasionally gets dinged, but in lacrosse, with the minimal protection he wears and the fact that some opposing shooters can fire the ball 100 mph, his body is covered in bruises from March until late June.
I don’t know who came up with the padding selections for lacrosse, but you might have to rethink those,” he said with a knowing smile. “I’m used to it now. I’ll have bruises, so you just got to ice it and maintain them.”
With Chayse in net, the hockey team won Section V titles in 2015 and 2016, missed out last year when he was sidelined, but now is poised for another trophy as Ierlan has produced a wondrous season. Victor is unbeaten (17-0-4) in 20 games.
"He's a really athletic goalie and he never gives up on pucks," said Pittsford coach Steve Thering, a former goalie himself. "The first time we played them this year, we had a kid back door, wide-open net, and Chayse dives across and makes a glove save. Everyone's hands were up; we thought we scored. He just competes all the time. You can take him off the ice and he's a great kid, comes from a great family, and it's nice to see a kid like that doing well."
With Ierlan backstopping the lacrosse team, the Blue Devils have forged an epic legacy during his tenure.
He has been the No. 1 goalie since his freshman year, and in that time Victor has won 63 of 66 games and captured three Section V championships and three state titles. Dating back to his first varsity action as an eighth-grader in 2014, there’s one more sectional title, and he has compiled a glowing career save percentage of 60.4.
Last year he was a first-team All-America and all-state in 2017 as well as the Section V defensive player of the year, and the Monroe County player of the year. He’s a two-time All-Greater Rochester first-team selection, a three-time Section V all-tournament team pick, a three-time first-team all-county pick, and he is a four-time New York state scholar-athlete recipient.
The only thing Ierlan hasn't done during his high school career, reports Andre, is that "He can't beat me in badminton."
“It’s definitely a lot of pressure to keep being successful,” Ierlan said of the lacrosse dynasty he’s a part of. “To have won three (state titles), it’s hard to describe. I know a lot of kids don’t even get the feeling of a sectional title, so with three states titles, it’s pretty unbelievable.”
First up, though, is hockey, and the Blue Devils are taking aim at their third sectional title in the past four years. To date, Ierlan has been brilliant with a .952 save percentage and a microscopic 1.15 goals-against average as he has allowed only 20 goals all season, and that includes a 4-4 tie with Pittsford.
“I think we’ve got the potential to do some good things, but if we don’t play well we’ll be in a world of hurt,” said Ierlan. “Everyone is really good; anybody can beat anybody on a given night. We’ve played Schroeder twice and we’ve won both, but it’s tough to beat a good team three times. Hopefully we can get a win Thursday and keep it going.”
He’s right that the competition in Section V this season has been keen, but the one thing every other team lacks, besides Victor, is Ierlan as the last line of defense. Everyone knows that in hockey, you build your team from the goal out, and in Ierlan, there is an unmatched cornerstone set in place for the Blue Devils.
Razor-thin difference between Section V hockey semifinalists in Class A and B
The Section V hockey quarterfinals proved it only takes a couple of bad minutes for a team to have its season come to an end. Ask Pittsford and Irondequoit how quickly the other team can capitalize on an opportunity.
The quarterfinals had many close games but it ended with all the higher seeds winning. This leaves us with great semifinal matchups where the difference between every team left is as thin as a skate's blade.
All semifinals and finals are at the Gene Polisseni Center at RIT. Class B semifinals are Wednesday with Class A playing Thursday.
No. 4 Canandaigua (13-7-1) vs. No. 1 Brockport (14-5-2)
Goals, goals, goals … there will be plenty of scoring in this matchup that features the top-four scorers in Section V.
Brockport's Andrew Harley leads Section V with 75 points, after a hat trick and assist in the Blue Devil’s 4-2 quarterfinal win over No. 7 Geneseo.
Peyton Young is second in Section V with 49 points (23 goals and 26 assists).
Right behind the Brockport duo is Canandaigua's Alex Burley and Carter McWilliams. Burley is third in the section with 46 points (23g, 23a) and McWilliams is fourth with 42 points (13g, 29a). Both players had empty-netters in Canandaigua's 5-2 win over No. 5 Batavia Notre Dame in the quarterfinals.
Sam Burley, Evan Best and Jake Dreisbach contributed goals that gave the Braves the lead in the third period.
Brockport head coach Greg Stahl said this game won't be complicated.
"Canandaigua has a good supporting staff and team, but the end of the day it’s going to be there top couple guys versus our couple top guys and which goaltender plays better," Stahl said. "We feel like we're going to score, we just have to keep them out of the net."
Brockport freshman Austin Ennis is playing on the top line with Harley and Young and could be the benefactor if the Braves key on the other two too much.
No. 3 Churchville-Chili (14-7-0) vs. No. 2 Webster Thomas (13-5-3)
Webster Thomas played in the game of the year so far in a 7-4 win over No. 7 Irondequoit in the quarterfinals. The Titans trailed 4-0 heading into the third period but rattled off seven goals from six different players to advance to the semis.
Titans goalie Connelly Springer has four shutouts this season, tied for the most in Section V with Aquinas’ Lenny Perno. One of his shutouts came against Churchville-Chili in a 3-0 win on Jan. 9.
Thomas won the other meeting with the Saints during the regular season, 5-3, on Nov. 30.
The Saints have won 10 of their past 11 games, including a 4-1 win over No. 6 Aquinas in the quarterfinals. Zachary Olsen recorded a hat trick to propel the Saints into the semis.
Olsen took over the team lead in goals with 18 this season and has 27 overall. Spencer Quinn still leads the Saints with 33 points (15g, 18a) and Brandon Clark is second on the team with 28 points (12g, 16a).
No. 4 Webster Schroeder (13-6) vs. No. 1 Victor (17-0-4)
The Blue Devils won both regular-season games this year against the Warriors by identical 5-2 scores but the games really weren’t all that similar. In the first meeting Dec. 1, Victor led 4-0 and 5-1 with the Warriors adding a late goal.
In the second meeting Feb. 1, Victor led 3-0 heading into the third period, but Schroeder scored a pair in the third and Victor didn’t clinch the win until Mitch Rydzynski scored an empty-netter with 1:28 left.
In the quarterfinals against No. 5 Pittsford, Schroeder trailed 1-0 heading into the third period. The Warriors scored three goals in three minutes and held on to knock out the defending Class A champions, 3-2.
The magic number for this matchup is three; Schroeder has scored three or more goals in 15 of its 19 games this season. However, Victor has only allowed three or more goals in a game twice this year.
Connor Ball will be the main focus for Victor to slow down. The top scorer in Class A leads the team in goals (17) and assists (21) for 38 points, which is fifth in Section V this year.
Hunter Olsen scored twice in the win over Pittsford and is second on the team with 11 goals.
The Blue Devils squeaked out a 2-1 win over No. 9 Rush-Henrietta, with Ashton Collazo scoring the go-ahead goal early in the third.
How good has Chayse Ierlan been in net for Victor? He has a 1.14 goals against average with a .952 save percentage.
Ierlan is a nice safety net but Victor will need to find the back of the net a few times to beat the Warriors. Rydzynski leads Victor with 14 goals and Sam Lambert has a team-high 32 points (10g, 22a).
No. 3 Penfield (15-4-2) vs. No. 2 McQuaid (15-3-1)
These two teams played four overtimes in last year's quarterfinal and it wouldn't be surprising if they did it again given how close they match up. This is the type of game where the difference could be a fortunate bounce or a goal by someone unexpected.
It's the only possible matchup left in either class where the teams will meet for the first time this season in playoffs. It's also the first game between these two since the No. 8 Knights knocked off top-seeded Penfield, 2-1, last season behind a 52-save effort from goaltender Conner Pulli.
McQuaid head coach Jeff Lovier said they have to be ready for a hard, grinding game against the Patriots. McQuaid has had many different players step up over the last few weeks, and it starts with the guys in the back end.
"We've had four or five defensemen playing against the other teams' top lines and they've done a good job of shutting those guys down," Lovier said.
The Patriots and Knights have a lot in common; for example, neither team has lost in over a month.
McQuaid started the year 4-3 but they come into the semifinals on a 12-game unbeaten streak (11-0-1).
Penfield started 6-1 but hit a bump in the middle of the season where they lost 3 of 4. A 7-1 loss to Fairport on Jan. 11 was the turning point of the Patriots season. Penfield comes into Thursday’s game with a 10-game unbeaten streak (8-0-2) since the loss to the Red Raiders.
Each team has a pair of players that can be the best player on the ice at any given time. James Merkley scored a pair in McQuaid's 5-1 win over No. 7 Fairport in the quarterfinals, giving him team-highs with 16 goals and 15 assists.
Penfield saw first-hand what Pulli can do and he's followed up this season with a 1.50 goals against average and a .942 save percentage.
Penfield goalie Brennan Lee hasn’t been a too bad himself, posting a 1.94 goals against average and a .909 save percentage.
The big players, both figuratively and literally, for Penfield are Jack Schlifke and Andrew Ebersol. Schlifke doesn't look too far up at the 6-foot-6 Ebersol, who had two goals in Penfield's 5-3 win over No. 6 Greece in the quarterfinals.
Schlifke leads Penfield with 31 points (15g, 16a) and Ebersol ranks second with 24 points (12g, 12a).
In the quarterfinals, McQuaid's Ryan McEvily netted his second goal of the year and Alex Spoto scored his fifth of the year against the Red Raiders.
Penfield's Connor Stuewe scored twice in the win over Greece and he's third on the Patriots with 11 goals.
Webster Thomas's seven goal third period sinks Irondequoit in Section V hockey playoffs
No. 1 Victor 2, No. 9 Rush Henrietta 1
Ashton Collazo scored in the third period with the eventual game-winner as top-seeded Victor held off Rush-Henrietta.
After a scoreless first period, Connor Gelabert scored in the second for Victor (17-0-4). A goal by Rush-Henrietta (11-10-1) before the end of the period tied the score entering the third.
Victor plays the winner of Friday's game between No. 4 Webster Schroeder and No. 5 Pittsford in the Class A semifinals at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Polisseni Center.
In Section V hockey playoffs, it comes down to one goal. Question is, who will advance?
The consensus throughout the 2017-2018 season has been that the depth of Section V hockey will make for an unpredictable postseason. The time has come to see these match-ups in real time, with advancement and eventually a championship at stake.
With only one first-round game left, we can look forward to a few marquee match-ups this postseason. Coaches won't speculate on match-ups beyond the game at hand, but we will.
There won't be an easy out in this tournament. I can't blame the Class A coaches if they don't want to get ahead of themselves because everyone has a tough quarterfinal.
Victor is head of the class, finishing the regular season without a loss (16-0-4). It has to deal with No.9 Rush-Henrietta (11-9-1) first, which already has a win under its belt after defeating Brighton/HF-L/ER, 5-3, in the first round. The Blue Devils and Royal Comets just played last Thursday, with Victor needing overtime to pull out a 2-1 win.
It doesn't get any easier if Victor survives, with the winner of Pittsford vs. Webster Schroeder waiting in the semifinals. Pittsford (11-6-2) had a rough final week of the regular season. A tie with Victor, followed by losses to Brighton/HF-L/ER and McQuaid left the Panthers as the No. 5 seed, facing a Warriors (11-6) team that has a win over Pittsford, 6-4, on Dec. 5. The Panther's last win against a Section V team was a 6-0 victory against the Warriors on Jan. 30.
A potential Victor/Pittsford semifinal could be the best game of the tournament. The two tied in both regular-season meetings, 1-1 and 4-4, and Pittsford knocked Victor out of sectionals a year ago in the semifinals. Of course, the big change for Victor this year is having Chayse Ierlan back between the pipes. Pittsford won't be fazed though, since they were the only Section V team this year to score more than two goals in a game against the Blue Devils.
The other side of the bracket could also feature a rematch from last year, with No. 2 McQuaid (14-3-1) and No. 3 Penfield (14-4-2). The Patriots were the No.1 seed in Class A a year ago but were upset in the quarterfinals by the eighth-seeded Knights, who won 2-1 in a shootout after four overtimes.
Of course, McQuaid has a tough quarterfinal against No. 7 Fairport (12-7-1), the most confounding team in Section V this season. The Red Raiders have a 7-1 win over Penfield, a 4-3 win over Webster Schroeder and a 1-1 tie with Victor. They also have two losses to Brighton/HF-L/ER and a 4-1 loss to McQuaid on Jan. 6. Depending on which Fairport team shows up, the Red Raiders could be a bracket buster this year.
For most of the year, this looked like a three-team race between Brockport, Canandaigua and Webster Thomas. But the red-hot Churchville-Chili Saints have added their name to the mix.
The Saints earn the title of the “team nobody wants to play right now.” They were 4-6 after a loss to Greece on Jan. 11, defeated Canandaigua, 4-3, in their next game and haven’t slowed down since, going 9-1 to finish the season.
No. 3 Churchville-Chili (13-7) has won in all sorts of ways during the stretch run; 2-0 against Brockport and 8-7 over Irondequoit. They also defeated Canandaigua twice in that stretch.
Spencer Quinn and Zachary Olsen lead C-C with 15 goals each and Brandon Clark is second on the team with 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists).
As for the other three teams, they've all taken turns beating one another this season, so it's hard to call anyone a clear favorite.
Brockport lost to Webster Thomas, 3-2, in their only match-up this year on Dec. 15. No. 1 Brockport (13-5-2) beat No. 4 Canandaigua, 6-3, on Feb. 1. The Blue Devils and Braves (12-7-1) could meet in the semifinals.
The Braves come limping into the postseason having lost their last four games of the regular season, three of those coming against Brockport, Webster Thomas and Churchville-Chili. But Canandaigua defeated Thomas, 3-2, in overtime Jan. 30 and tied Thomas, 3-3, on Dec. 12.
The No. 2 Titans (12-5-3) have been the most consistent team this year, going 10-2-2 against Class B teams. One of their two loses came to No. 7 Irondequoit (9-9-2), which the Titans face in the quarterfinals.
Brockport defeated Webster Thomas, 4-1, for the Class B title last year. A rematch could happen, but it will take a lot of work from both teams to get there.
Previewing the Section V bowling tournaments, hockey seedings announced, alpine skiing at Bristol Mountain and basketball notes
The Section V hockey tournaments get underway this week for Classes A and B.
The unbeaten Victor Blue Devils (16-0-4) are the No. 1 seed and open on Thursday at Rochester Ice Center, 7:15 p.m. Victor plays the winner of Tuesday’s game between No. 8 Brighton/HF-L/ER and No. 9 Rush-Henrietta.
The Blue Devils, ranked No. 2 in the state in Division I, beat each of those opponents during the regular season although the R-H win came in OT just last week.
Canandaigua Academy (12-7-1) is the No. 4 seed and opens on Thursday at home, 7 p.m., against No. 5 Batavia Notre Dame. The Braves certainly will be taking a hard look at themselves as they enter the tournament on a four-game losing streak.
CA beat BND 6-5 in overtime on Jan. 18 to improve to 8-3-1, then won its next four games. But the Braves were outscored 21-11 in the final four games of the season.
Final Section V Scoreboard: Saturday, February 10
Victor 4, Williamsville South 3
Victor (16-0-4): Sam Lambert 2 goals, 1 assists; Mitch Rydzynski, 1 goal, 1 assists; Ashton Collazo 1 goal—The Blue Devils will be the top seed in Class A.
Final Section V high school scoreboard: Thursday, February 8
Victor 2, Rush Henrietta 1 OT
Victor (15-0-4): Sam Lambert (game winner), Andrew Crean 1 goal.
RH (9-9-2): Jordan Coleman 1 goal; Cam Kuzniar 28 saves.
Victor 2, Rush Henrietta 1 (OT)
Sam Lambert scored the game-winning goal for Victor (15-0-4) in their win over Rush-Henrietta (9-9-2) on Thursday at Rush-Henrietta.
Andrew Crean added a goal for the Blue Devils as well.
Goals come fast and furious as Pittsford, Victor battle to 4-4 tie
This one took some doing, but Victor’s unbeaten run through the Section V hockey season marched on Tuesday night as the Blue Devils managed a surprisingly high-scoring 4-4 tie with rival Pittsford.
Surprising in that Victor senior goalie Chayse Ierlan, one of the best to stand between the pipes in these parts for quite a while, allowed four goals, two more than he had given up in any game this season.
“No one had scored that many on him, and we got four on him,” said Pittsford coach Steve Thering. “When we were 5-on-5, we were doing a nice job in the offensive zone, and we were exploiting some of their weaknesses in the defensive end. Two games with them, they’re undefeated and we’ve tied both of them. We’re right there with them and I’d love to meet up with them somewhere in the tournament because it would be a great matchup.”
The Blue Devils, now 14-0-4, took a 3-1 lead early in the second period, and saw Pittsford score three in a row before Lukas Miller’s power-play goal with 10:45 left in the third salvaged the tie.
Typically, when Victor has a 3-1 lead, it’s over. But the Blue Devils were not particularly sharp in their own end and on a few occasions left Ierlan hanging out to dry. Against some teams, that’s usually not a problem, but Pittsford is the Class A defending state runner-up for a reason, and the Panthers didn’t waste their chances.
“I think our goalie played very well tonight,” said Victor coach Mike Ferreri. “We had some defensive breakdowns that led to some goals. All four of their goals came from right in front and three of them were guys who were left alone. We can clean things up, but I’m proud of the guys; we gave up three unanswered there and came back to tie it.”
It took more than 38 minutes for either team to score in their first meeting this year, a 1-1 tie back in mid-December. In this game, there were three goals before 11 minutes had been played, with Victor taking a 2-1 lead.
Just 2:47 in, Pittsford’s John Avery was caught covering the puck in his own goal crease with his glove, necessitating a penalty shot, and Victor’s Ashton Collazo cashed it in, beating Panthers goalie Ryan Zaucha down low.
Pittsford tied it about five minutes later when Mark Yorkey ripped a low shot past Ierlan, and just like that, the star Victor goaltender’s incredible season goals-against average went up because he entered the game at 0.99. It would only go up as the night went on.
The Blue Devils regained the lead with 4:10 left in the first when Alex Hernandez flew down right wing on a 2-on-1 break, decided to shoot, and buried one to the top left corner over Zaucha’s blocker.
Victor then made it 3-1 on a power-play goal by Connor Gelabert 58 seconds into the second, and it looked like the unbeaten Blue Devils were going to cruise. Instead, Pittsford scored twice in a span of 1:41 late in the period to draw even at 3-3.
Patrick Kompare scored the first on a shot that just trickled over the goal line, and by recording an assist on the play, Pittsford’s John Mozrall registered his 100th career point. No. 101 came moments later when he fed Zack Quinton in the slot and Quinton ripped one past Ierlan on the stick side.
Early in the third, Pittsford went up 4-3 when Quinton made a pretty cross-crease pass to Hayden Feck, who re-directed it past Ierlan.
“Our last game with them was a low-scoring game,” said Mozzrall. “We just worked hard and got a lot of shots to the net and got in Chayse’s face. There’s a little frustration (not holding on), but the team worked hard and eventually the pieces fell into place. We got a couple good bounces that led to goals, which was nice.”
Miller’s tying goal came on a shot from the high slot that found its way through traffic.
“Just a simple play, and simple usually works,” said Ferreri. “We knew it was going to be a battle, it’s Pittsford. Did I see 4-4? No, but I’m happy we were able to score the four goals. The Victor-Pittsford battle right now across the board in all sports is fun. The kids enjoy games like this.”
Victor 4, Pittsford 4
Ashton Collazo scored on a penalty shot and Alex Hernandez converted a Tony Prem assist to give the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead after one period.
Connor Gelabert gave Victor a 3-1 lead in the second with assists from Sam Lambert and Josh Albert before Pittsford rallied with a pair of goals in the final two minutes of the second.
In the third, Pittsford took a 4-3 lead before Lukas Miller converted a Prem assist on the power play with 10 minutes left, the second man-advantage goal of the game for the Blue Devils.
Victor had a power-play opportunity in overtime, but couldn’t convert.Victor is 14-0-4 with both games against Pittsford this season ending in ties.
Final Section V Scoreboard: Thursday, Feb. 1
Victor 5, Webster Schroeder 2
Victor (14-0-3). Sam Lambert 1 goal, 2 assists; Mitch Rydzynski, Andrew Crean 1 goal, 1 assist each; Ashton Collazo, Josh Albert 1 goal each; Chayse Ierlan 28 saves.
Webster ( 11-6). Justin Gibb, Nick Obi 1 goal each; Payton Hall 22 saves.
Victor 5, Webster Schroeder 2
Sam Lambert tallied a goal and two assists for Victor (14-0-3) in their win over Webster Schroeder (11-6) on Thursday at Webster Schroeder.
Mitch Rydzynski and Andrew Crean each had a goal and an assist, Ashton Collazo and Josh Albert each scored a goal, and Chayse Ierlan recorded 28 saves in net for the Blue Devils as well.
Victor will next play on Tuesday at home against Pittsford at 7:15 p.m.
Northstar's Brown knocks down 53 points; other final Section V results: Tuesday, January 30
Victor 5, Gates Chili 1
Victor (13-0-3). Mitch Rydzynski 2 goals, Sam Lambert, Alex Hernandez, Cal Lambert 1 goal; Georgie Stathopoulos 22 saves.
Gates (2-13-2). Adam Haines 1 goal; Sam Levecchi 28 saves.
Victor 5, Gates-Chili 1
Georgie Stathopoulos collected 22 saves in net for Victor (13-0-3) in their win over Gates-Chili (2-13-2) on Tuesday at Victor.
Mitch Rydzynski scored two goals, Sam Lambert, Alex Hernandez, and Cal Lambert each added a goal, and Andrew Crean and Ricky Currier both tallied two assists for the Blue Devils as well.
Victor will next play on Friday on the road against Webster Schroeder at 5 p.m.
Final Section V high school scoreboard: Friday, January 26
Victor 8, Auburn 2
Victor (12-0-3). Jack McCandless 3 goals; Sam Lambert 2 goals; James Tilley, Evan Millspaugh, Mitch Rydzynski 1 goal; Chayse Ierlan, Georgie Stathopoulos 36 saves combined.
Victor 8, Auburn 2
Jack McCandless recorded a hat trick for Victor (12-0-3) in their win over Auburn (10-4-1) on Friday at Victor.
Sam Lambert scored two goals, James Tilley, Evan Millspaugh, and Mitch Rydzynski each added a goal, and Chayse Ierlan and Georgie Stathopoulos combined to collect 36 saves in net for the Blue Devils as well.
Victor will next play on Tuesday at home against Wheatland-Chili at 7:15 p.m.
Final Section V Scoreboard: Thursday, January 25
Victor 3, HIlton 1
Victor (11-0-3). Mitch Rydzynski 2 goals; Lukas Miller 1 goal; Chayse Ierlan 23 saves.
Hilton (4-8-1). Sam Sedia 1 goal. Mason Burdick 21 saves.
Victor 3, Hilton 1
Mitch Rydzynski scored two goals for Victor (11-0-3) in their win over Hilton (4-8-1) on Thursday.
Lukas Miller added a goal, and Chayse Ierlan recorded 23 saves in net for the Blue Devils as well.
Victor will next play this evening at home against Auburn at 7:30 p.m.
Final Section V Scoreboard: Friday, January 19
Victor 5, Salmon River 1
Victor (10-0-2): Ashton Collazo 2 goals, 1 assist; Connor Gelabert, Sam Lambert, Evan Millspaugh 1 goal each; Chayse Ierlan 18 saves.
Salmon River 6-3-1
Victor 5, Salmon River 1
Ashton Collazo had two goals and an assist for Victor (10-0-2) in their win over Salmon River (6-3-1) on Friday at Salmon River.
Chase Ierlan recorded 18 saves in net, and Connor Gelabert, Sam Lambert, and Evan Millspaugh each added a goal for the Blue Devils as well.
Final Section V high school scoreboard: Wednesday, January 17
Victor 2, Skaneateles 0
Victor (9-0-2): Alex Hernandez, Andrew Crean 1 goal; Chayse Ierlan 15 saves, shutout.
Victor 2, Skaneateles 0
Alex Hernandez and Andrew Crean each scored a goal for Victor (9-0-2) in their win over Skaneateles (8-3) on Wednesday at Skaneateles.
Chase Ierlan recorded 15 saves in net to record a shutout for the Blue Devils as well. Victor will next play on Friday on the road against Salmon River at 6:30 p.m.
Halfway through Section V hockey season, a strong group is chasing Victor in Class A
A few things have become evident at the midpoint of the Section V hockey season.
First, Class A is deep and talented, with five teams ranked in the Top 12 in the latest state poll conducted by the New York State Sportswriters Association.
Second, some of those teams will stand in each other's way in a quest for postseason championships.
“Section V is going to be a dogfight in sectionals. I think you can flip a coin on any given night,” said Penfield coach Nathan Miller.
Here's how things stack up after the first half of the Section V season:
Victor climbing to the top
One of the main storylines coming into the season was the return of Chayse Ierlan in goal for Victor. With Ierlan in net, the Blue Devils won back-to-back sectional titles (2015 and 2016). When Ierlan was injured last year, Victor lost in the semifinals to Pittsford.
The Blue Devils are off to an 8-0-2 start and are the only unbeaten team left in Section V. As a team, Victor hasn't allowed more than a goal in eight of its 10 games this season, including a pair of shutouts, and nobody has scored more than two in a game against the Blue Devils. Ierlan's numbers follow suit, allowing less than a goal per game (0.94) with a .961 save percentage.
Victor head coach Mike Ferreri said there's still room for improvement.
"I know our record shows we're doing pretty well, but as a coach you're always talking about being better than you were the game before," Ferreri said.
Mitch Rydzynski and Andrew Crean are tied for a team-high seven goals, while Sam Lambert leads the team with 16 points.
Victor's two ties were both 1-1 scores against Pittsford and Fairport, but they've already beaten Webster Schroeder, McQuaid and Penfield this year to prove their record isn't a fluke.
Pittsford tough as usual
Don’t think the two-time defending Class A Section V champions are just going to let Victor take the crown from them. In a meeting on Dec. 12, the Panthers outshot the Blue Devils 29-20 and the game was scoreless through two periods.
The Panthers started the year 2-2-1 but the record didn't tell the whole story. They fell to Webster Schroeder and West Genesee (Section III) — both are in the top seven in the latest New York State Sportswriters Association poll and West Genesee is a perfect 10-0 on the season. Pittsford has run off five straight wins.
Panthers head coach Steve Thering said it's not about how you start that's important.
“You have to peak at the right time," he said. "That’s something we’ll see over the month is who peaks at the right time. It’s finding out who’s going to get hot at the right time because there’s a lot of contenders in Class A.”
Junior Hayden Feck returned to Pittsford after playing a full year on a travel team. He's been a key addition, leading Class A with 13 goals, third in Section V. He's tied for sixth in Section V with 20 points.
Senior John Mozrall has 94 points in his career and would be the first player in Thering's 11 years to record 100 career points.
Webster Schroeder a surprise
Without a doubt the Warriors have taken the biggest leap this year. Schroeder is 8-3 through 11 games after winning only nine of its 20 games in the regular season a year ago.
Connor Ball is the main reason for Schroeder's improvement. He is second in Section V with 25 points and tied for fifth in the Section with 10 goals. Sophomore defenseman Joseph Visconte has also been a key addition.
One thing is for sure with the Warriors, you'll be entertained. Schroeder has scored at least two goals in every game this season, but it's also given up at least two goals in all but one of its games.
Other teams still in the mix
There's a set of teams in Class A that have as good a chance to win the title as anyone. Penfield (7-4), last year's No. 1 seed in sectionals, McQuaid (6-3), Rush-Henrietta (7-4) and Fairport (7-4) are all capable of making a run in the postseason. R-H has lost to Penfield and Fairport, and has a game Tuesday against the Patriots.
The Red Raiders might be the most curious team in Section V. They lost to Brighton/ER/HF-L, Pittsford and McQuaid, but they have wins over Webster Schroeder, R-H and Penfield, while also tying Victor 1-1. Fairport has a lot of unfinished business in sectionals with three straight losses in the Class A final.
“It’s going to be a wide-open sectional tournament. There are a lot of teams that can win it this year," said Ferreri. "Penfield is a very good team, Fairport, Webster Schroeder and McQuaid; you have a lot of top teams in that mix.”
Class B hard to figure out
Class B is a little more top heavy than Class A. There's a three-team group of Canandaigua, Webster Thomas and Brockport that has separated itself so far this season. All three are ranked in the state and the Braves are No. 1 with a 7-2-1 record.
Senior Alex Burley is the steady hand for Canandaigua, leading the team with 14 goals and 24 points, both good for third in Section V. That's a slight improvement off his pace from last year, when he finished in the top 10 in scoring with 23 goals and 43 points.
There's still a lot to be determined, however, between these three. The Braves play Thomas twice and Brockport once in the final two weeks of the regular season.
Thomas (8-3-1) and Canandaigua played earlier in the year to a 3-3 tie and the Titans have the lone win in that round-robin trio with a 3-2 overtime win over Brockport.
Brockport's 6-2-1 record looks nice but a win over Notre Dame (6-5) is the only one the Blue Devils have against a team over .500 in Class B this year. Brockport is 2-2-1 against teams over .500 overall.
Top senior scorers
Brockport senior Andrew Harley leads Section V with 24 goals and 38 points overall. He’s one away from tying his total of 25 goals a year ago when he finished third in the section in scoring with 52 points. Harley scores in bunches with a hat trick in six of Brockport's nine games this season. Harley's 14 assists are tied for second in Section V.
Irondequoit senior Phillip Barilla is second in Section V with 16 goals and a big reason why Irondequoit (7-5-2) has nearly as many wins as it did all of last year, when the Eagles went 8-10-2.
Barilla is also scrappy with 28.5 penalty minutes this season, the fourth most in Section V.
Webster Thomas senior Colin Horan has gotten off to a slower start than expected. While the team is still performing well, Horan has four goals in 11 games this season. He had 18 a year ago and added five in three playoff games.
Horan may have found a spark his last time out, posting a goal and three assists against Irondequoit on Jan. 11. If he continues on that pace, Thomas will be a hard out in the postseason.
Victor hockey remains unbeaten after 10 games
Andy Lipari, @alipari27 Published 10:08 p.m. ET Jan. 9, 2018 | Updated 1:42 p.m. ET Jan. 10, 2018
Tuesday marked the first time in nearly three weeks that Victor and Penfield played a game. The two shook off the rust and opened the second half of the regular season at the Rochester Ice Center with the Blue Devils prevailing, 4-2.
Victor (8-0-2) led 3-1 in the third period thanks to two Alex Hernandez goals. Kyle Leatt scored for Penfield (7-3) late in the third to cut the deficit to a goal.
The Patriots had pressure late but Sam Lambert put in an empty-netter to put the game away.
Here are a few other takeaways from Tuesday's game:
We are who we thought they were
There wasn't much of a surprise with Victor and Penfield. The game was tight the whole way and each team had its moments, but a two-goal surge in less than a minute for Victor was the difference.
At this point of the season, Victor is a goal better, but they're a goal better than just about everyone in Section V. The Blue Devils lead a deep Class A that has five of the top 15 Division I schools in the latest NYSSWA poll. Victor is No. 3 in the rankings and has already beaten Webster Schroeder, McQuaid and Penfield, and tied with Pittsford.
Victor head coach Mike Ferreri said the team isn't a perfect product, but there's a lot to like about how the team has played the first half of the season.
"I know our record shows we're doing pretty well, but as a coach you're always talking about being better than you were the game before," Ferreri said.
How does Penfield stack up?
Penfield head coach Nathan Miller said Tuesday was absolutely a chance to see how his team measures up against the last remaining unbeaten team in Section V.
He said they'll learn more about themselves over the next couple weeks with games against opponents such as Fairport, Rush-Henrietta and Pittsford.
"We have to come out with a little more grit, especially in the first and moreso in the third," said Miller. "We haven't played a game in 17 days, so for us to come back and face one of the better, more talented teams in Section V is always a challenge.
"We'll make some tweaks moving forward and the next two weeks will give us a good barometer to see where we're at and what we need to work on in the next month."
Unlikely sources of scoring
Victor found its goals coming from players that don't light the lamp too often. Hernandez tallied his third and fourth goals of the season and now has seven points for the year, tied for fifth on the team.
Tony Prem scored his first goal of the season on a seeing-eye shot that squeaked through to the back of the net. The defenseman also has two assists on the year.
Lambert leads the team with 15 points, but the empty-netter was only his third goal of season.
The Patriot defense goes on offense
The ability for Penfield's defensive unit to get involved in the offense is a strength for the Patriots, led by Andrew Ebersol's six goals and eight assists for 14 points. He is second in all three categories on the team to Jack Schlifke, who scored his ninth goal of the season Tuesday.
Final Section V Scoreboard, Tuesday, Jan 9
Victor 4, Penfield 2
Victor (8-0-2): Alex Hernandez 2 goals; Tony Prem, Sam Lambert 1 goal; Chayse Ierlan 22 saves.
Penfield (7-3): Jack Schlifke, Kyle Leatt 1 goal; Brennan Lee 28 saves.
Races in the Finger Lakes leagues are taking shape, plus other news and notes from the local sports scene including swimming and hockey
Hockey: CA No. 1, Victor No. 3 in state rankings
On frozen water, how fortunate are fans of local hockey?
In Division 1, the Victor Blue Devils (7-0-2) climbed to No. 3 in the newest state rankings and in Division 2, Canandaigua is ranked No. 1 for a second straight week.
The Blue Devils are good, scary good, and they have two things working for them. The first is senior goalie Chayse Ierlan, who already one of Section V’s best but is playing determined hockey this season after missing most of last season with an injury. The other is depth. There are no individual superstars and Victor is wearing teams down with an onslaught of pressure at both ends.
The Braves, meanwhile, vaulted into the top spot thanks to some losses by the teams ranked ahead of them over the last couple of weeks. CA was No. 3 in the first poll, then climbed to No. 2 two weeks ago.
And even though CA lost to Victor on Dec. 21, losses by Williamsville-East and Cortland-Homer opened the door for CA.
Victor is at traditional power Skaneateles on Friday before games against No. 12 Penfield (1/9) and Hilton (1/12) next week. The Braves, meanwhile, are back on the ice Friday for the first of three road games: at Churchville-Chili, at Brockport (1/6) and Irondequoit (1/9).
HS hockey: Victor beats CA to remain unbeaten
Deep Blue Devils use pair of goals late in second period to take control and defeat Canandiagua, 4-1, on Thursday night
FAIRPORT — Depth is a luxury not many high school teams can boast but when they do, it often comes with another lesson: Patience.
That’s not always an easy combination, especially in a game like hockey, where the pace is brisk and the physical punishment can be brutal.
But that’s what the Victor hockey team has, and the Blue Devils used both to beat the Canandaigua Academy team, 4-1, on Thursday night at the Rochester Ice Center.
“The first couple of periods, we hung in there,” said CA coach Pat Wade, whose team falls to 5-1-1. “But we made a couple of mental mistakes and we can’t do that against a team like Victor.”
The first period was without scoring, but that didn’t mean the absence of excitement. Both sides were aggressive toward the puck and certainly were finishing checks. That style created some opportunities, but goalies Chayse Ierlan and Noah Schwartz were ready.
First, Ierlan’s glove save at 7:46 of the first robbed CA’s Jake Driesbach of an open net. A little more than 4 minutes later, Schwartz used his blocker to send Andrew Crean’s shot wide, and Mitch Rydzynski’s attempt to clean up the rebound sailed through the crease behind Schwartz, just off the mark.
The 0-0 tie lasted until there was 8:24 left in the second when Crean was on the spot for a sweet backhand to clean up the rebound of Connor Gelabert’s initial shot.
Three minutes later, a mad dash at the Victor net resulted in a Carter McWilliams goal for the Braves, and the 1-1 tie energized the packed stands. The physical play continued and fans were reacting with every check, every save and every glimpse of an opportunity.
But Victor (7-0-1) took control with a pair of goals in the final 2:50 of the period. First, Gelabert’s simple slap shot on the power play from the right side got past Schwartz. In the final minute, a dash in front of the net got a little too close to Schwartz for CA’s liking and the resulting scrum behind the net sent two Victor players and one CA player to the penalty box.
When play resumed, the Braves were on the power play but Rydzynski’s short-handed goal with 10 seconds gave the Blue Devils a 3-1 lead, and the Braves plenty to think about between periods.
“You have to finish your chances,” said Wade. “When you get your opportunities ... it’s grace under pressure, you know?”
It’s one thing to give up a goal in the final seconds of a period, but a short-handed goal? It was a bit of a dagger into the spirit of the Braves, but when Victor has Ierlan making the saves he’s making (he had 17 on 18 shots in the first two periods) and then brings the offensive pressure in waves, it goes back to the depth that’s tough to contain.
″(Chayse) plays with such confidence,” said Victor coach Mike Ferreri. “It’s almost an expectation ... He’s so consistent and so confident.”
And the depth part of it all?
“We just want to get the puck low and then attack those second and third opportunities,” said Ferreri. “We know (Schwartz) is going to make that first save. So what can we do with those second and third chances?”
In the third, Jack McCandless needed only one opportunity to bury his opportunity. The sophomore was all alone when he received a pass about 20 feet in front of the net. He buried the shot to give the Blue Devils a 4-1 lead and the defense did the rest of the work, holding the Braves to just one shot in the third.
“We just stayed positive and stayed with the system,” said Crean. “And it paid off ... We know we have the depth to beat any team. In the third period, they were pretty tired and that’s when we press teams.”
Of course, the Braves would have left the barn happier on Thursday with a win, but not all is lost in the loss. Wade said he wasn’t too concerned because it’s not as though he saw anything that can’t be fixed.
“We’ll look at the film and figure out how the mistakes happened and get them corrected,” he said.
Final Section V Scoreboard, Thursday, Dec. 21
Victor 4, Canandaigua 1
Victor (7-0-2): Andrew Crean 1 goal, 2 assists; Mitch Rydzynski, Connor Gelabert, Jack McCandless 1 goal each; Chayse Ierlan 18 saves.
Canandaigua (6-1-1): Noah Schwartz 29 saves.
Final Section V scoreboard, Tuesday, Dec. 19
Victor 1, Fairport 1
Victor (6-0-2): Connor Gelabert 1 goal; Chayse Ierlan 25 saves.
Fairport (4-3-1): Nick Krug 1 goal; Carter Tochelli 23 saves.
Victor 6, Ithaca 1
Mitch Rydzynski recorded a hat trick for Victor (6-0-1) in their win over Ithaca (2-4-1) on Saturday at Ithaca.
Cal Lambert, Ashton Collazo, and Lukas Miller each scored a goal, and Chayse Ierlan recorded 23 saves in net for the Blue Devils as well.
Victor will next play on Tuesday at home against Fairport at 7:15 p.m.
Section V high school scoreboard, Tuesday, Dec. 12
Pittsford 1, Victor 1
Victor (5-0-1): Alex Hernandez 1 goal (6:40 left), Josh Albert 1 assist; Chayse Ierlan 28 saves.
Pittsford (2-2-1): Patrick Kompare 1 goal; Ryan Zaucha 19 saves.
HS hockey: Victor season preview for 2017-18
Blue Devils like depth, skill and chemistry as they search for return to top of Section V
Yes, the Victor hockey team has some forwards to score goals. And there are some defensemen, and a goalie, to stop other teams from scoring.
It’s a pretty basic setup for these Blue Devils, and it’s one coach Mike Ferreri believes can work.
“We have 10 seniors on the team,” said Ferreri. “We’ve never had a class this big, but it’s a really tight-knit group and they’re all going in the same direction.”
And this is why Ferreri is hesitant to point fingers as the 2017-18 season unfolds. It’s difficult to single out who your leader is when you have a group capable of producing a different leader on any given night.
Bottom line: Ferreri and the Blue Devils are in a good spot.
“That’s a big number, even for us,” said the coach. “But all 10 will see plenty of time and all 10 will be battle-tested.”
Of course, there is a name on the Victor team that cannot be avoided. Senior goalie Chayse Ierlan is the name, and he’s back after missing all of last season with an injury. Ierlan helped the Blue Devils to Section V titles in 2015 and 2016, and it would be unfair to pin Victor’s semifinal exit in last year’s tournament on Ierlan’s absence.
But having him back is a big, big boost.
“Everybody knows how talented he is,” said Ferreri. “But it’s his leadership, too ... He’s very good for all his teammates, and they need him as much as he needs them.”
Ierlan’s .959 save percentage is a solid indicator of how much he means as the backbone of Victor’s defense. It’s helped the Blue Devils get off to a 5-0-1 start, which includes an impressive 5-0 win over McQuaid and a 1-1 tie with rival Pittsford.
Working in front of Ierlan is a group of defenseman dedicated to the team concept, said Ferreri. And when it comes to getting it done against opposing forwards, the task is forthright.
“We try to keep it as simple as we can,” said Ferreri. “As long as everyone is doing their job and getting better every day.”
So far, it’s working because the Blue Devils have held every opponent but one to a single goal or less. And in the one game they allowed two goals, the offense made sure it was harmless because it scored five goals.
Up front, the philosophy is much the same in preaching teamwork and communication. Ten different players have scored goals for Victor, led by Andrew Crean’s three. Seniors Ashton Collazo (2 goals, 2 assists for 4 points), Alex Hernandez (2-2, 4), Sam Lambert (1-3, 4), Crean (3-0, 3) and junior Roman Czornobil (1-2, 3) are the leaders in a balanced attack that brings an unselfish approach.
“We definitely need guys to score,” said Ferreri. “But because these guys are so tight, it doesn’t matter who scores on a particular night as long as somebody does and Victor wins.”
For some, balance is a great attribute that makes an offense tough to defend. Others say balance can be detrimental in terms of having an established leader, one that teammates, and opponents, know is capable of carrying an offense.
Ferreri doesn’t buy into the latter, though.
“All these guys will contribute, they’re all skill players,” he said. “We have a little more depth than we’ve had before and that will definitely help us.”
Of course, finding the right combinations can take some time in terms of ironing out which lines will be the most effective together. But Ferreri says December hockey is the time to figure all of that out, so he’s not too worried if early experiments don’t work.
“We want to be playing our best hockey in mid-February,” he said. “It’s about everything you do during the regular season, don’t take any shifts off and get better every day.”
By Messenger Post Media / email@example.com
Posted Dec 9, 2017 at 11:41 PM
Updated Dec 9, 2017 at 11:41 PM
Victor 5, McQuaid 0
Andrew Crean tallied two goals and an assist for Victor (5-0) in their win over McQuaid (3-2) on Friday at McQuaid.
Sam Lambert recorded a goal and two assists, Mitch Rydzynski had a goal and an assist, and Chayse Ierlan collected 21 saves in net for the Blue Devils as well.
Victor will next play on Tuesday on the road against Pittsford at 7 p.m.
Final Section V High School Scoreboard
Democrat and Chronicle Published 8:32 p.m. ET Dec. 8, 2017 |
Victor 5, McQuaid 0
A pair of questionable hits within the span of 20 seconds resulted in a 4-minute major and a pair of Victor goals late as undefeated Blue Devils shutout McQuaid 5-0 at Rochester Ice Center, Friday.
With a three-score lead midway through the third after goals from senior forwards Sam Lambert and Andrew Crean and junior defender Josh Albert, a questionable hit on McQuaid (3-2) senior forward Jack Stone led to an nearly minute long scuffle between players from both teams.
Less than 20 seconds later, an equally questionable hit laid on Victor (5-0) senior forward Mitch Rydzynski led to a 4-minute major and Blue Devils power play.
Victor capitalized, using the man-up advantage to score twice more on goals from senior forward Andrew Crean and Rydzynski and put the Knights away for good.
Senior goalie Chayse Ierlan recorded his second shutout of the season in goal for Victor.
Final Section V high school sports scoreboard: Tuesday, Dec. 5
Democrat and Chronicle Updated 10:41 p.m. ET Dec. 5, 2017
Victor 8, Gates Chili 1
Victor (4-0): Sam Lambert, Ashton Collazo 1 goal and 2 assists. Tristen Sulecki, James Tilley 1 goal.
Gates (1-3): Jacob Franklin 1 goal.
By Messenger Post Media / firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Dec 5, 2017 at 11:44 PM
Updated Dec 5, 2017 at 11:44 PM
Victor 8, Gates-Chili 1
Sam Lambert and Ashton Collazo both collected a goal and two assists for Victor (4-0) in their win over Gates-Chili (1-3) on Tuesday at Gates-Chili.
Tristen Sulecki and James Tilley both scored their first varsity goal for the Blue Devils as well.
Victor will next play on Friday on the road against McQuaid at 6:30 p.m.
Final Section V high school sports scoreboard: Friday, Dec. 1
Victor 5, Webster Schroeder 2
Victor (3-0): Andrew Crean 2 goals; Ashton Collazo, Roman Czornobil, Jack McCandless 1 goal; Chayse Ierlan 36 saves.
Schroeder (2-1): Brandon Gierczak, Noah Germano 1 goal; Payton Hall 34 saves.
By Messenger Post Media / email@example.com
Posted Dec 2, 2017 at 11:59 PM
Updated Dec 2, 2017 at 11:59 PM
Victor 5, Webster Schroeder 2
Andrew Crean scored two goals for Victor (3-0) in their win over Webster Schroeder (2-1) on Friday at Thomas Creek Ice Arena.
Ashton Collazo, Roman Czornobil, and Jack McCandless each tallied a goal, and Chayse Ierlan recorded 36 saves in net for the Blue Devils as well.
Final Section V High School Scoreboard: Tuesday, Nov. 28
Victor 3, Brighton 0
Victor: Josh Albert 1 goal, 2 assists; Chayse Ierlan 21 saves.
Brighton: Daniel Cook 27 saves.
By Messenger Post Media / firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Nov 28, 2017 at 11:32 PMUpdated Nov 28, 2017 at 11:32 PM
Victor 3, Brighton/ER/HFL 0
Josh Albert tallied a goal and two assists for Victor (2-0) in their win over Brighton/ER/HFL on Tuesday.
Ashton Collazo and Andrew Crean each scored a goal, and Chayse Ierlan recorded 21 saves in net for the Blue Devils as well.
Victor will next play on Friday against Webster Schroeder at Thomas Creek at 7:30 p.m.
At Craig Charron Hockey Tournament, everyone wins, even Golisano Children's Hospital
The Victor Blue Devils held on for a 2-1 win over Webster Thomas in the middle game of the Craig Charron tournament.
Mitch Rydzynski scored the first goal for Victor (1-0) early in the second period. Jack McCandless made it a two-goal game later in the second.
Webster Thomas cut into Victor’s lead with a Zack Wolfe goal with 4:22 left.
Victor head coach Mike Ferreri said a tough first game such as Saturday's can help down the road.
"I've always believed that when you play in tough situations and play a tough opponent you'll be exposed a little bit," Ferreri said. "I think that's the best way to learn to fix those mistakes early, so as the season goes on, you correct those mistakes."
Victor goalie Chayse Ierlan made his first start in over 18 months, missing all of last year with a knee injury. He didn’t show any signs of rust, making a number of saves, including one with 10 seconds left on the Titans last rush.
After Rydzynski's goal, fans threw teddy bears on the ice that were donated to Golisano Children's Hospital.
Section V hockey talent so good that the Top 10 players-to-watch list goes to 11
Andy Lipari, @alipari27
Published 4:47 p.m. ET Nov. 25, 2017 | Updated 7:07 p.m. ET Nov. 25, 2017
Chayse Ierlan (Victor)
Ierlan is the most intriguing player and biggest X-factor in Section V. A two-time sectional tournament MVP, he didn’t play at all last year because of a knee injury and Victor’s season ended in the semifinals. With Ierlan in net as a freshman and sophomore, the Blue Devils won back-to-back titles in Class BB.
“He’s been so excited to get back here, and his leadership is another huge reason he’s really going to help us this year,” Ferreri said. “We know how hard he works and how hard he competes and guys feed off that.”