West Genesee scores OT goal to win Section 3 hockey title over Syracuse

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By Lindsay Kramer on February 25, 2017      

Syracuse, N.Y. —Nerves were at a minimum on the West Genesee bench as Saturday’s Section 3 Division I hockey final against Syracuse headed to overtime in the War Memorial.

And, really, when you’ve won eight of the last nine sectional crowns, what’s thereSection Final GWG to sweat?

As Jay Considine showed in this case, really nothing at all.

Considine shoveled in a power play goal with 4:28 remaining in the first overtime to give the Wildcats a 2-1 win over Syracuse.

The goal came with 40 seconds left on a power play for the Wildcats (19-2), who advance to host the Section 6 champ on March 4 in the first round of the states.

“This is us in the postseason,” said Wildcats coach Frank Colabufo. “Fortunately, we’ve had the opportunity to get ourselves into these games. We just try to stick to a simple formula. It worked again today. I don’t think we were unnerved by the moment. Someone had to make a play, and today it was Jay.”

Ryan Washo also scored for the Wildcats, while Philip Zollo put in Syracuse’s only tally.

Just 1:31 into the extra period, Syracuse’s Matt Eccles was whistled for interference. Considine’s score was set up after West Genesee goalie Sammy Colabufo denied a Syracuse shorthanded chance in his end. Considine gathered the puck in his zone, raced down to the left wing and jammed a shot between the pads of Syracuse goalie Jake Polacek.

“I saw ice wide and I took it, tried to get across the crease and put it 5-hole,” Considine said. “I didn’t have much time to think. It was just surreal.”

The goal snubbed a wild attempted rally by Syracuse, which carried play the final two periods and had a late power play at the end of the third period that could have won the game. But West Genesee wasted that man-up chance to set up the extra hockey.

“We knew it was going to be a tight-scoring game,” Frank Colabufo said. “Ice was contested everywhere. One goal was going to make a difference. We just tried to stay above the puck and get pucks to the net when we could.”

Colabufo made 30 saves for West Genesee while Polacek stopped 26.

“We knew one of one those was going to find its way,” Considine said of the Wildcats’ pressure on Polacek. “It felt good when that puck finally went in the net (on the game-winner).”

The Wildcats struck first in the contest, on a goal by Washo with 7:46 left in the first. Zollo responded on a power play score with 8:05 left in the second.

West Genesee’s win avenged a loss to Syracuse earlier in the season.

“It definitely feels good to get revenge on them,” Considine said. “But they are a great team and they definitely fought hard all game.”

The Wildcats now return to the familiar territory of the states, where they fell in overtime to Mamaroneck in last season’s final.

“I told these kids before the game we’ve been preparing for this game since we got beat by Mamaroneck 1-0 in the state final,” Frank Colabufo said. “And that’s not to take anything away from the 20 regular-season games, or F-M or RFA along the way. But we prepare for this moment from day one. And these kids have been in the right mindset, the right frame of mind for this game.

“You know what? I love the fact that we’re on into the state tournament, but that’s a bonus. We get to come back to the rink on Monday. These kids love each other, and that’s what they play for.”