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Canisius edges St. Joe’s

The ice version of the Canisius-St. Joe’s rivalry took center stage Thursday night at Northtown Center at Amherst with the Crusaders skating away with a 2-1 win over St. Joe’s.

Matt Santora’s goal with 2:35 left broke a 1-1 tie, allowing Canisius to improve to 5-1-2 in the league. Jake Nichols made 36 stops for the Crusaders, who opened the scoring but not without controversy. Zach Grace scored on Canisius’ first shot just 1:19 into the game with a goal St. Joe’s coach Rich Crozier believes slipped in under the net because the cage wasn’t all the way on the ice.

“We did everything we could to bring it to the refs’ attention but to no avail but I liked the way the boys competed,” Crozier said. “Canisius played a great game. ... We’re disappointed that the outcome of the game was impacted on what we believe was a no goal.”

Canisius and St. Joe’s, the basketball version of the rivalry, tip off at 1 p.m. Saturday at Canisius College.

Dom Perna scored for St. Joe’s, which had a chance to take a 2-1 lead in the second period but got denied by a nifty glove save by Nichols on a one-time chance off a backdoor play.

Santora’s winner came off a nice play, Crozier said. After a hit at the St. Joe’s blue line, the puck went right onto the stick of Canisius’ Quinn Beiter. He directed the puck toward the net, where Santora tipped it between the Marauders goalie’s legs.

Zach Kurbiel scored twice for Williamsville North in a 5-2 win over Orchard Park for coach Bob Rosen’s 399th career triumph.

David Christopher scored twice as Ken East won the battle of Kenmore with a 5-2 win over Ken West.

Wrestler sets wins mark

Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer is a national champion. He’s also a state champion, sectional champion and has won an assortment of in-season tournament championships during his time at Cheektowaga.

He’s done lots of winning and it’s fitting that the 152-pounder became the winningest wrestler in Warriors history Thursday. Rodriguez-Spencer pinned Mike Miller of West Seneca East in 11 seconds to earn his 182nd career victory at Cheektowaga during his team’s 42-29 win. Rodriguez-Spencer broke the old mark previously set by Clay Reeb back in 2009.

“With Renaldo it’s not about the records he’s getting. It’s always about the state title for him,” Warriors coach Matt Haberl said. “For him, I think he’ll look back and have time to say, ‘well, I did good,’ but for now it’s just about state titles.”

Chiefs’ Bowen takes control

Iroquois boys basketball coach Sean Lauber said Phil Bowen definitely has the ability to take over a game. He did just that Thursday night in crunch time as the Chiefs defeated visiting Starpoint, 74-66, in ECIC II.

Bowen scored 11 of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter. His layup with five minutes left in the fourth quarter gave Iroquois (6-3, 3-1) the lead for good. Bowen is averaging 22 points per game.

Zach Emer (16 points, 14 rebounds) had his first double-double of the season for Iroquois, which led 23-15 after one quarter but watched the Spartans pull closer and closer.

Dylan Dussault had 16 points and Tyler Graser added 14 as Alden earned its first league win by beating host Eden, 50-39. The Bulldogs seized control with a 13-4 first quarter.

Fredonia wasn’t happy with itself after yielding 23 second-quarter points and seeing Silver Creek take a 34-32 lead into intermission. But the Hillbillies righted their ship big time after halftime as they limited the Knights to 15 points the rest of the way to earn a 62-49 win in a showdown between top 10 ranked News Small Schools. Both squads are ranked seventh. Dylan Meyer canned two big three-pointers in the third quarter and poured in eight more points in the fourth quarter as he finished with a game-high 21 points for Fredonia, which took away the Knights’ inside game in the second half by moving more guys in the paint and pressuring the guards.

MMA finds its skating legs

Weather has played havoc with most teams’ schedules recently, including members of the Western New York Girls Varsity Hockey Federation.

Playing its first game since Dec. 19, the Monsignor Martin slowly pulled away from West Seneca to earn a 7-3 win at the North Buffalo Ice Rink. Julia Ahr scored twice, while Maeve Christ had a goal and three assists for the two-time defending Federation champions, who have had two games postponed due to weather – including last Tuesday’s defending-champion-versus-defending-champion clash against Section VI champ Kenmore.

O’Hara finishes strong

Cardinal O’Hara had a legitimate reason for getting off to a slow start Thursday against Nichols as the News’ No. 1 large school had not touched a basketball since beating Jamestown last Friday in a battle between the area’s top two-ranked large schools.

Once the Hawks got their legs under them, they soared to a 90-47 road win. O’Hara led by just six after the first quarter, but used a 29-9 second quarter to take control. Jontay Walton scored 15 points, had seven assists and six steals for the unbeaten Hawks. Aisha Shabazz scored a game-high 17 points for O’Hara and Cori Dickson had 12 points and four assists.

Elsewhere, Victoria Pryor had 23 points and Bianca Brown 16 as Niagara Falls beat host Lockport, 53-45, in the Niagara Frontier League. Lockport came into the game ranked fourth among large schools while Niagara Falls was sixth.