posted on February 18, 2015
The 2000 team braved the cold in Buffalo Presidents Day weekend to take home the Buffalo Super Series Championship. The Royals went 2-1-1 in preliminary play to advance to the semifinals where they met one of their main rivals, Team Comcast. The Royals jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first period and only a late goal broke up Derek Mullahy’s shutout bid en route to a 4-1 Royals win. Derek finished with 33 saves on 34 shots. Brandon Cimino opened up the scoring for the Royals on a blast from the point, assists to Ross Mitton and Robert Mastrosimone. Ryan Colwell made it 2-0 with a shorthanded breakaway goal with assists to Freddy Ilias and Anthony Mastromonica. Mastrosimone made it 3-0 going five hole off of some neat passing from Mitton and Jason Ruszkowski. Ross Mitton finished the scoring for the Royals with an unassisted breakaway with a nasty dangle.
In the finals the Royals were up against the host Buffalo Jr. Sabres. The teams tied 3-3 in the preliminary round with the Royals coming back from a 3-1 deficit. The Sabres scored late in the first to grab a 1-0 lead. The Sabres then grabbed a 2-0 lead early in the second before Ross Mitton cut it to 2-1 on a feed from Jason Ruszkowski. The Sabres scored the next two to grab a 4-1 lead midway through the second. To shake the team up, Coach Greig made a goalie change and put Alex Fowler in. Alex had been very good in the preliminary round and was ready to go. He made some tough early saves and the Royals found their legs. Zach Vlacich let a blast go from the point which deflected off of Hayden Fried’s ankle while he screened the goalie to make it 4-2. With 20 seconds left in the second Hunter Wiedenkeller found a streaking Ruszkowski for a breakaway and he buried it to make it 4-3 before the second ended, seizing the momentum. The Royals kept the pressure on the Sabres with 8 minutes left Vlacich found Mitton who fed Ruszkowski on the left wing and Ruszkowski snuck it in short side to tie it at 4. With 4 minutes left Vlacich found Ryan Colwell who executed a great give and go with Mastrosimone before Colwell tapped it into the open net to give the Royals a 5-4 lead. The Sabres battled back and pulled their goalie and Fowler continued to make saves but a centering pass toward an unfortunate bounce off a players skate into the net to tie it at 5 with 30 seconds left. The game went to a three man shoot-out and the Sabres scored on their first shot but Ruszkowski was up to the task and buried his shot to make it 1-1 after the first round. No one scored in rounds 2 and 3 as Fowler made some dazzling saves. Now it went to single rounds and both goalies prevailed in round 4. In round five Fowler snatched a glove save and Mastrosimone had a chance to win it and that’s just what he did. Congratulations to the boys for a great weekend as they prepare for the AYHL playoffs, States and hopefully Nationals.
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