Steelers reach Perinton semifinals

The NCCYHA Steelers Squirt hockey squad made a valiant run at the championship recently at the Perinton Big Thaw tournament near Rochester.

However, the Steelers lost a semifinal match to a well-prepared Corning team. It was an accomplishment to simply reach the semifinal round and the Steelers did it in style by winning all three qualifying games and topping the 12-team pool with 13 of a possible 15 qualifying points for a 1st-seed berth in the semis.

The Steelers kicked off competition with a 3-1 win over Ithaca-Parmenter. Goalie Lauren Marshall turned aside eight of nine shots while the Steelers generated 17 shots on goal. Livingston became the next victim and found themselves on the bottom end of a 6-0 decision. Marshall turned aside just two shots en route to a shutout while the Steelers peppered Livingston with 32 shots on goal.

The third qualifier assured the Steelers their first seed for the semis when the team topped Oswego Taylor, 5-3. The Steelers carried a single-goal lead into the 3rd period but fought off a surging Oswego with two more goals. Austin Rott stood in the pipes and turned back 18 of 21 shots. The Steelers, through solid passing and team play, generated 30 shots to clinch the emotional victory.

Official scoring and assist summaries for the qualifying games were unavailable, but offensive leader Ethan Brunner recorded the most goals by far and posted an astounding plus-10 rating across the three qualifying games. Other goals came from Gabe Schrader, Jack Swanson, Zach Korzieniewski, Alex Rush and Ikaika Wojcinski.

Standout play from the defensive corps helped assure victory across all three games. That corps included Rush, Rott and Marshall, plus Sydney Frost, Nicholas Frazier and Jack Storm. Frazier led in defensive efficiency with an overall plus-7 rating across the three qualifiers.

The semifinal was a different story for the team as a whole. Corning held a slim 2-1 lead heading into the third period, but then scored the icer at the 5:53 mark and the Steelers, with three penalties in the third, never could mount a serious threat. Corning outshot the Steelers 18-10 and fielded the dominant defensive effort. Brunner recorded the lone, unassisted Steeler tally.