N I A G A R A G A Z E T T E niagara-gazette.com
Published: February 23, 2009 12:11 am
CLUB HOCKEY: Jacks beat GI, 6-2, on Super SundayBy Jonah Bronstein
BUFFALO — North Tonawanda made its final Super Sunday
experience a special one.
The Lumberjacks, who will join the Western New York Varsity Hockey Federation next season, won the WNY Club Hockey Large School championship Sunday, defeating rival Grand Island 6-2 at HSBC Arena.
“I’ve been waiting three years for this moment,” an elated Matt Dlugokinski said after following his team’s celebration near the Buffalo Sabres logo on the ice. “I think we have the best fans in Western new York hockey. I’m excited for them, and I’m excited for the City of North Tonawanda.”
Dlugokinski was one of 10 seniors coach Jay Stainsby brought along over the past three seasons, with this culminating moment in mind.
“Steve Brady brought me back three years ago, and the goal was to get this group to Super Sunday,” said Stainsby, who led the Lumberjacks to their last title in 2003.
North Tonawanda (23-3-2) dominated from the start, taking the lead less than 90 seconds into the game, and going up 4-0 by the end of the first period.
Dmitri Novak scored an unassisted goal off a face-off in the Grand Island zone at the 13:37 mark to make it 1-0.
“The only thing we talked about the last two weeks is to start fast,” Stainsby said.
“That first goal set the tone,” said Darren Godfrey, a junior who was named Most Valuable Player.
Godfrey netted North Tonawanda’s next two goals, his 22nd and 23rd of the season. Godfrey took advantage of a Grand Island giveaway in front of the net to score at the 9:15 mark. Then, during a 5-on-3 power play, he stuck home the rebound after Matt Dlugokinski’s deflected slap shot from the point.
Matt Malley extended the lead in the final minute of the period, skating across the middle and firing in an unassisted goal.
Ed Weiser, who had both of the Grand Island goals, gave the Vikings (26-8-2) some life when he scored on a long wrist shot 19 seconds into the period.
But Matt Lyness, the Lumberjacks leading scorer this season, answered with an unassisted, shorthanded goal at the 7:32 to mark that made it 5-1.
Less than two minutes later, Matt Malley got North Tonawanda’s sixth goal, getting assists from Kevin LaRoque and Godfrey.
Kyle Adcock got the win in goal. Save totals were unavailable.
“This definitely puts us on the map in the Federation for next season,” Godfrey said.
Time Warner Cable Sportsnet will show the game at 8 p.m. Thursday.