Seniors shine as Steelers skate to 10-1 victory

By CRAIG HARVEY

OBSERVER Sports Editor

As Dunkirk-Fredonia celebrated Senior Night on Saturday at Steele Hall, it was only fitting the seven seniors led the Steelers to a convincing 10-1 victory over Wilson in Western New York High?School Club League hockey action.

The seniors – comprised of Andy Ellis (Cassadaga Valley), J.J. Ludwig (Fredonia), Alex Michalak (Dunkirk), Jeff Mulkin (Fredonia), Dylan Munson (Fredonia) goalie Carson Rafan (Fredonia) and captain Brett St. George (Fredonia) – combined for four goals and seven assists.

Leading the way was Michalak with a goal and four assists.

“The seniors stepped up,” Steelers’ coach Jay Bishop said. “We had some great veteran leadership all year from the seniors and it continues as the season goes on. I really thought they did a tremendous job. We count on our seniors to show us the way by leading by example. They have done a great job of that.”

Dunkirk-Fredonia controlled much of the first period but could not get the puck past Wilson goaltender Jim McNeight.

“We came up against some really good goaltending,” Bishop said. “He played tremendous.”

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Finally, midway through the frame, the Steelers were able to get past McNeight as they scored three goals in a 1:52 span. Jacob Majka, St. George and Michalak were the goal scorers.

“The kids finally found a way to get the puck to the net,” Bishop said. “They did a great job executing and making plays on the offense zone. We have worked hard on that and it’s encouraging to see the kids do so well with it.”

Dean Campese rounded out the scoring in the first period to give the home team a 4-0 lead.

In the second period, Dunkirk-Fredonia continued to control the tempo of the game, finding ways to pass the puck down low which led to goals on the weak side.

Connor Graves, Munson and Kevin Ganey each scored second-period goals for the Steelers. Meanwhile, Wilson received a goal from Andy Swift as the second period concluded with the Steelers ahead, 7-1.

“We have really been working hard on creating offense and being creative,” Bishop said. “We want to find the open guy back door and it paid off tonight. It was nice to see what you practice come to fruition. Every aspect of our game, I thought we played well. Overall, the kids did a tremendous job.”

Matt Sheridan scored two third-period goals and Ellis added one to round out the scoring.

Assists were recorded by Sheridan (3), Matt Szalkowski (2), Kyle Leysath (2), Dylan Munson (2), Campese, Ryan Sheldon and Ellis.

“I think our captain Brett St. George has been a quiet leader on the team,” Bishop said. “He is the backbone of our defense. Dylan Munson and Alex Michalak have given great contributions. We have had great leadership from Andy Ellis, J.J. Ludwig and Jeff Mulkin. Carson Rafan has been our goaltender and has done a good job.

“What we focus on is we want to be in charge at both ends,” Bishop concluded. “We want to control the game and control the flow. Most of all, we want to control momentum. That’s exactly what the kids did tonight.”