The Buffalo Bisons’ 19-under team isn’t used to going into the playoff round at the USA Hockey Championships on a loss, but at least the Bisons are familiar with their quarterfinal opponent tonight in San Jose, Calif. Buffalo faces Shattuck St. Mary’s at 10:45 following a 6-0 drubbing to Detroit Honey Baked during Friday morning’s pool-play finale.
All but one member on the current Bisons team played on last season’s national runner-up, which suffered its only loss of that tournament in the final to Assabet Valley (Mass.).
If the Bisons are going to make another run at that elusive USA Hockey title, they first need to get by a 3-0 Shattuck St. Mary’s team which placed second in its division during pool play only because 3-0 Assabet Valley finished with a better goal differential.
The Bisons feature 11 players from Nichols, who along with coach Scott Welch are quite familiar with Shattuck, the Minnesota prep school. Nichols and SSM split two games at a tournament in February on Shattuck’s home ice. The Vikings lost, 7-1, in the morning but rebounded to beat their host later that same day, 6-5.
The Bisons’ 16-under Tier I girls team was the only other Western New York team at nationals to reach today’s playoff round. Buffalo earned a 2-1 win over Honey Baked as Jillian Koop scored the winner at 9:51, just 36 seconds after Honey Baked had tied it.
None of the area’s four boys teams in Tier I or II nationals advanced to the playoff round. The Buffalo Regals/Jr. Sabres 18-under Tier I team’s season ended with a tough 4-3 loss to national No. 7 Cleveland. Carlos Ross, Andrew Robinson and Nico Gonzalez scored for Buffalo, ranked 16th nationally. Buffalo also lost to No. 5 Team Comcast (3-2) and No. 6 Honey Baked (5-3).