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Sunday, March 9, 2014: Massena, Ithaca advance in Division I hockey

   Leading off today: Barring an overtime tie that cannot be broken -- which isn't out of the realm of possibility (see below) -- Massena or Ithaca will stand alone at the top in more than one way Sunday in Utica at the NYSPHSAA high school hockey tournament.

   "Someone is going to take over the lead for most Division I championships and they are going to tie Salmon River for state tournament wins with six," Massena coach Trimboli told The Watertown Daily Times.

   Ithaca advanced by topping Scarsdale 6-4 in the semifinals Saturday. In the other semifinal, Massena advanced to thanks to a slapshot from junior defenseman Devin Page and a rebound goal from senior Tyler Young with 3:40 left in overtime for a 2-1 win over Fairport.

   Page got control of the puck near the Massena blue line and rushed up the right wing. He cut left and wristed a shot that handcuffed goalie Ethan Kaiser (19 saves). The rebound bounced to Kaiser's right, where Young was waiting.

   "It was the end of a shift and I was tired," Page told the newspaper. "I was thinking of just dumping the puck in deep to get a line change but I saw (Young) skating into the zone with me and I had an opening to take a shot. The coaches always say that when we're in that position, to try to shoot the puck against the grain and that's what I tried to do."

   Massena senior goalie Connor Paquin turned aside 19 shots in the victory over Fairport, which was making its first trip to the state semifinals since 2008.

   "This was a total team effort and Connor really played his part well," Trimboli said.

   In the first game, Ithaca built leads of 3-1 and 6-3 to advance. Jacob Grippen led the Little Red with two goals and two assists, and Sunghyun Won added two goals. Goalie Brandon Kasel made 31 saves.

   Division II hockey: Beekmantown squandered a two-goal lead and was on the wrong end of an overtime heartbreaker in the 2013 semifinals, dropping a 4-3 decision to eventual champion Syracuse CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt.

   There would be no 2014 rerun. After falling a goal down in the first period where they were outshot 10-2, Beekmantown rallied on third-period goals from Kyle Bisonette and Nate Foster to earn a 2-1 win over Auburn.

   The Eagles advanced to the championship game against Webster Schroeder.

   "I said before we even came down here, 'Any great goal in life that you want to obtain, you're going to face challenges and adversities along the way. It's the team that handles those challenges and adversities the best that's going to come out the winner at the end of the game,'" coach Justin Frechette told The Press-Republican. "We answered the bell."

   After being held scoreless by Auburn's Brendan Entenmann for 32:57, Bisonette broke through while all alone in front to tie the game. Foster's 41st goal of the season came 4:20 later as the senior captain scooped up a loose puck and lifted it over Entenmann on the glove side.

   "It seemed like the puck was sitting there forever," he said. "It felt like a few seconds."

   In the other semi, Matt Montgomery scored the tie-breaking goal 6:32 into the second period and sophomore Ryan Winn provided insurance with 9:32 left in the third for the Warriors, making their first trip to the final four.

   "You think about how much fun it's been, what a journey it's been, and it's not over yet," Winn told the Democrat and Chronicle. "We came here for one reason."

   A long day of work: After seven overtimes, coaches from Sylvania Northview and Cleveland St. Ignatius decided to end Saturday's Ohio High School Athletic Association hockey championship game in a 1-1 tie.

   OHSAA officials said the decision was agreed to by both coaching staffs out of concern for player safety. The OHSAA had never previously crowned co-champions.

   Northview goalie David Marsh set a state championship game record for saves with 77. As a team, Northview

More N.Y. postseason coverage
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NYSSWA site for brackets of tournaments from the past and present seasons. Boys basketball
Road to Glens Falls for scores and stats.
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Road to Troy for scores and stats.
NYSPHSAA tourney brackets
Current state rankings.
Ice hockey
NYSSWA site for tournament brackets.
Current state rankings.

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finished with 54 blocks.

   Basketball: We'll wrap up Saturday's basketball news in a separate blog later today, that will include Union-Endicott's upset of Mount Vernon in boys Class AA quarterfinals action.

   Mount Vernon remained in the news throughout the weekend as the probe into accusations surrounding the Mount Vernon-Mahopac Section 1 playoff game continued. Here are a few of the developments:

    • Officials confirmed that a Confederate flag, regarded as a symbol of racism in many contexts, was displayed by someone during the Feb. 27 game at the Westchester County Center.

    • Five more Mahopac students have been suspended in connection with racist Twitter comments, bringing the number of students disciplined thus far to at least eight.

   Meanwhile, some Mahopac students expressed dismay about comments made by their schoolmates. "What doesn't seem to sit well with us is that a small group of irresponsible teenagers who are not involved in our sports programs are now the face of our town. I don't think that's fair," student fan group leader T.J. Sacco, 17, told The Journal News.

   Sacco, however, also said Mount Vernon fans taunted Mahopac counterparts and 10 to 12 Mount Vernon adults threw shirts at the Mahopac fans and made hostile remarks.

   Meanwhile, a video surfaced showing older Mount Vernon fans standing at the foot of the bleachers near the end of the game deriding the Mahopac student fans.

    • A letter to Mahopac parents from the high school's administrative team Friday depicted media coverage as one-sided. "Those who were at the game know it was not one sided at all," the letter says.

    • Athletes from other school districts alleged Mahopac athletes have used racist language during contests in recent years. Mahopac Superintendent Thomas Manko said the district has interviewed more than 40 people but has found no evidence of such incidents during the Mount Vernon game.

    • New York Sen. Greg Ball of Patterson, N.Y., issued a statement late Friday criticizing Mount Vernon district officials for failure "to take action to hold their fan base and students accountable."

    In his statement, Ball concluded: "If we want to unite in doing the right thing and learning from this sad day, the first step is avoiding sensationalizing and politicizing the event itself. Both sides are capable of handling this professionally, Mount Vernon simply needs to take immediate action to prove this as fact."

   Extra points: Robert Marafino, who coached Kenmore East baseball teams to 25 straight winning seasons, died Wednesday at the age of 88. In 25 years concluding with the 1990 season, his teams won six Section 6 championships.

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