The Buffalo Elite Midget Development Program’s run of 16 consecutive state hockey championships has been quite impressive.
It’s also history.
The Buffalo Regals/Jr. Sabres’ 18-under Tier I team’s quest to win its 17th straight New York State Amateur Hockey Association championship ended in double overtime at the hands of Clifton Park, as the Albany-area program earned a 1-0 victory in Sunday afternoon’s final at Northtown Center at Amherst.
Dylan O’Sick’s power-play goal off a goal-mouth scramble proved to be the difference as New York state’s champion in the USA Hockey Tournament will be someone other than the local program that’s produced more than 100 junior and college-level players and 11 NHL players/draftees since being founded in 1997.
“It’s definitely tough,” said Regals/Jr. Sabres coach Mike Mondoux, who’s stepping down as bench boss after being on the bench for 10 straight state titles. “Our kids competed hard tonight and throughout the whole season have come a long way. Unfortunately their season was cut short.
“Over the past 16 years and 10 years I’ve been part of the program, we’ve won in overtime and double overtime. Unfortunately, we came out on the wrong end of it tonight.”
The Regals/Jr. Sabres advanced to the final via tiebreaker ahead of the Buffalo Saints and Suffolk PAL. Amherst played a role in that drama, having tied the Saints on Saturday night and beating the Regals/Jr. Sabres early Sunday morning to end the round-robin portion of the tournament.
In the 18-under Tier II final, Clarence advanced to its first USA Hockey Tournament by beating Center State, 2-1, at Northtown Center. Nick Godin and Harlan LoVullo scored for the Mustangs, who are coached by Steve Godin.
“We’re really excited,” coach Godin said. “Our kids are mostly multi-sport athletes. It’s just a good group of athletes and kids and we’re pretty excited (to be going).”
The champions in the three Tiers of the 16-under and 18-under state tournament advance to the USA Hockey Tournament which begins April 2 in various spots across the country. Clarence will play in the Tier II boys tourney at Wayne, N.J.
In the girls state tournament, the Buffalo Regals captured a pair of Tier I titles in the 14-under and 16-under divisions. The Buffalo Bisons are the 19-under Tier I state champion.
The Tier I girls nationals take place at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Mass.