For the 7th year in a row, and for the 14th time, the Section V Champion Penn Yan Mustangs claimed the title of Western New York Champion, clearing the way for the team to appear once again in the final four of the New York State High School Championship Tournament.
The team from Eden put up a good fight, but in the end, Penn Yan was victorious as the Mustangs won 8-5 to earn the win in the New York State Regionals and the right to play Wednesday in the semifinals against LaFayette/Onondaga.
Penn Yan had faced Eden earlier in the season and came away with a 14-0 win, but it was a different squad Coach Brian Hobart’s team faced in the state playoff. Eden actually led 3-1 early in the second quarter before the Mustangs got the lead back to 4-3 at halftime.
“The kids showed a lot of character overcoming a 20 save performance by the Eden goalie (Zach DeCarolis),” said Hobart. “We (played) a really gritty game and put ourselves in a great spot on Wednesday.”
Colton Smith led Penn Yan with four goals and an assist. Conner Fingar had three goals of his own while Mekhi Mahan added the other goal. Devon Gerhardt tallied two assists and Ayden Mowry added an assist.
The team plays Lafeyette/Onondaga Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. Hobart believes the team will be ready as they are one step from playing in the New York State Championship.
“We’re looking forward to a great challenge in LaFayette,” he said. The kids have worked very hard to get themselves to this point.”
If they defeat LaFayette, they will play for the New York State Championship Saturday, June 8 at 5:30 p.m. at St. John Fisher College in Rochester.
Penn Yan 10 Pal-Mac 9
To advance to the Western Regional Championship, the Mustangs captured their 24th Section V championship defeating Pal-Mac in a comeback overtime victory May 29.
Colton Smith delivered the final blow to the Red Raiders bid for the crown with just 5 seconds left in the overtime period.
Pal-Mac started the game strong, scoring the first 2 goals within 2 minutes and had a 3-0 lead before Conner Fingar put Penn Yan on the scoreboard for the first time. At the end of the first quarter, the score was 4-1 in Pal-Mac’s favor. They only scored 2 more goals in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, but came back in the 4th quarter with three goals, when the regulation time ran out on a 9-9 tie.
Penn Yan’s sticks came alive in the 2nd quarter with 5 goals, begun by Fingar just 15 seconds in to the quarter. Chase Blumbergs added another, followed by two by Clay Kinyoun and another by Fingar. Penn Yan led 6-5 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Smith scored first and Fingar followed up, ending the quarter with an 8-6 lead.
Pal-Mac wasn’t ready to quit in the 4th quarter, tallying 3 goals to force the tie after Smith scored once to give the Mustangs 9.
Fingar led the Mustangs scoring with 3 goals and 2 assists, Smith had 3 goals, Clay Kinyoun had 2 goals and an assist, Devon Gerhardt had 1 goal and 2 assists, and Chase Blumbergs had 1 goal. Goaltender Griffin Emerson had 6 saves.
Fingar was named Class D All Tournament MVP. He has also been named All-American. Smith was named to the All Tournament Team, along with Bryan Duran, Griffin Emerson.