Steelers win Best of West tourney

Though the Dunkirk-Fredonia Steelers’ season did not end the way they had hoped with a Super Sunday championship, the team finished the year on a high note as it won the Best of the West tournament recently at Riverside Ice Rink.

The Best of the West tournament is for all teams in all divisions which did not make it to the state tournament. The Steelers went 5-0 on the three-day event held at the North Tonawanda Center in Amherst.

It was the fourth year the Steelers competed in the event and first time ever taking first place.

In the Steelers’ opening game, they defeated South Park, 4-2, and were aided by offense from the blue liners. Defenseman Mike Johnson scored two goals to highlight the game.

In the second game, the Steelers skated past Orchard Park, 4-1, led by two goals from Ryan Meredith.

Dunkirk-Fredonia skated to a 5-3 win over Depew, which proved to be a sneak peak of the championship game. David Woloszyn and Nick Formanowicz shined for the Steelers as they each scored two goals.

In the semifinal game, Matt Szalkowski scored the game’s lone goal as Dunkirk-Fredonia edged Lancaster, 1-0. Formanowicz and Matt Sheridan had an assist on the game-winning goal.

It took a rally from the Steelers to clinch the title as they defeated Depew once again, 9-6.

Trailing 4-1 heading into the second period, Dunkirk-Fredonia scored four power play goals in the second period which propelled the Steelers to victory.

Sheridan netted five goals for the winners.

Jared Hebner was in net for all five games for the Steelers.

“He had a stellar tournament,” Dunkirk-Fredonia coach Jay Bishop said. “He really did a great job. It was a great team effort from a defensive standpoint and offensive scoring from all over, which really helped us win the tournament. It was a great way to end the season for the kids. I was really proud, especially to come back in the championship game.

The event was played on an Olympic-size rink, which Bishop felt benefited his team.

“It gave them more time and space with the puck to make better decisions,” he said. “We have a lot of team speed.”