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Timberwolves PeeWees headed to USA Hockey Nationals after state 12U Tier III title win

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BRASHER FALLS - The Tri-Town Timberwolves PeeWees didn’t have a long time to celebrate winning the New York State Tier III 12U championship last weekend in Amherst.

The team is already headed to the USA Hockey National Tier III Championships in Shelton, Connecticut where it is slated to make its debut this evening against the New Hampshire state champions starting at 5:30 p.m.

“We had a great weekend at states. The kids played well in all the games and they’re pretty excited about this weekend,” said coach Chris Rose after the Timberwolves set their sights on a national title after dominating the competition at the state Tier III tournament where they opened with a 6-1 win over Niagara County before skating to a 7-1 decision over Palisades and rallying for a 4-3 decision over Onondaga in their final preliminary round matchup.

In the semi-finals Sunday morning, the Timberwolves overwhelmed Genesee-Batavia 5-0 to earn a bid to the championship game where they turned back Palisades 4-1.

Timberwolves 6, Niagara 1: The Timberwolves set the tone for their championship weekend right away, building a 4-0 lead in the first period en route to downing Niagara County.

Will Arquiett led a balanced offense with two goals and an assist. Andrew Lantry added a goal and two assists. Wyatte Roberts (1 assist), Colby Jenkinson and Drew Rose each struck for solo goals while Payton Felix and Kaleb Rathbun both logged solo assists. Rico DiMatteo worked the crease for the first of his five wins over the course of the weekend.

Timberwolves 7, Palisades 1: In their second game of the tournament, the Timberwolves opened a 1-0 lead by the first intermission then broke the game open with a four-goal outburst in the second.

Rose led the way with three goals and two assists. Arquiett struck for a pair of goals while Sam Lyon and Felix connected for the others and Lantry notched a pair of assists.

Timberwolves 4, Onondaga 3: The Timberwolves fell behind 3-1 before rallying for the win.

Roberts netted the first Tri-Town goal off an assist from Rose. Lantry scored the second assisted by Rose and Noah Adams. Eli Kocsis netted the tying goal from Arquiett and Lantry with 12:12 left in regulation. Rose finished off a play set up by Arquiett and Lantry for the eventual game-winner just over three minutes later to complete the comeback victory.

Timberwolves 5, Genesee-Batavia 0: In their Sunday morning semi-final, Rose got the only goal Tri-Town would need at 8:45 of the first period then made it 2-0 midway through the second. Roberts scored the third goal of the game off an assist from Lantry then tipped in a shot from Kocsis just over a minute later to push the lead to 4-0.

Lantry closed out the scoring off an assist from Colby Jenkinson in the third period.

DiMatteo worked the crease for the win, stopping a penalty shot to help preserve the shutout.

Timberwolves 4, Palisades 1: The championship game Sunday afternoon was a rematch of a preliminary round game which saw the Timberwolves work their way to a 3-1 lead before surviving a wild finish.

Rose opened the scoring when he converted on a long clearing pass from DiMatteo for the only goal of the first period. Arquiett made it 2-0 by finishing off a play set up by Roberts and Kocsis with 5:52 left in the middle frame. Lantry pushed the lead to three goals just over two minutes when he drilled home the rebound of his own shot after having been knocked down to his knees by a Palisades defender.

The Predators got on the board when Luke Morris scored a power play goal off an assist from Brett Hanson with 5:15 left in regulation. Two minutes later, the Predators had a chance to make it a one-goal game when then were awarded a penalty shot after a Tri-Town player covered a loose puck in the crease with his hand. DiMatteo denied the Palisades shooter and the Timberwolves went on to put the game out of reach when Lantry tallied an empty-net goal assisted by Arquiett and Rose with 50 seconds left.

Other team members who contributed througout the weekend were Trent Dow, Jarrett St. Hilaire, Evan Lantry and Michael Meddings while Chris Dow and Jim Green served as assistant coaches.

After making their debut this evening at the national tournament, the Timberwolves return to the ice Saturday to take on the NRI Vikings of Rhode Island at 12:30 p.m. before closing out the preliminary round Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. against the Belmont Marauders of Massachusetts. The other four-team division consists of teams from Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and another from Massachusetts. The top two teams from each division advance to the Sunday morning semi-finals at 9 a.m. The national Tier III Championship Game is slated to face-off at 3 p.m.

This year’s Timberwolves PeeWee team includes several players who were making their third straight appearance in the state final before finally breaking through for top honors. Another handful of players were on last year’s Timberwolves Squirt team which won the state 10U championship and went on to capture the USA Hockey Northeast Regional Tournament title.

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