By Erin Rankin
Teamwork was the key to victory for the Center State Stampede travel squirts during the 2007 youth hockey tournament at the Morrisville IcePlex on January 6 and 7.
The tourney began with a high-energy game against the Olean Arrows. The game was scoreless near the end of the first period when Nathan Durant scored off an assist from David Marshall. In the second period, four more goals were scored through the combined (scoring/assist) efforts of Billy Rankin, David Marshall, Danny Galvez, Alex Hunt, and Jack Buell. Olean scored two goals rapidly in the third period, and then added a third goal with four minutes to play to make the score 5-3. However, Center State's stingy goaltender, Mario Benedetti, was in the goal (21 goals saved), and Olean fell short in a 5-3 loss (Olean's first loss this season).
The second game was against a talented Baltimore (Canada) team that required optimizing team stamina. During the game, Center State benefited from overall aggressive play by wing Ryan Lansing, and strong play by defensive players Zach Sampson, Aaron Buyea, Brandy Streeter, and Hunt. By limiting Baltimore's shots on goal (16 total), the game was played to a 2-2 tie.
On Day 2, Center State played the competitive Binghamton Senators. A deep bench gave Binghamton an advantage against Center State; however, it wasn't enough to stop Center State from taking an early lead that was not relinquished. This game was characterized by strong overall team play with the puck spending most of the time in front of Binghamton's net. There were 37 shots on goal by Center State, and goals by Buell, Galvez, Marshall and Sampson with assists by Galvez and Rankin. Throughout the game Lansing and Durant provided key offensive support. Buyea made an especially strong defensive stop in the third period. Benedetti had seven goals saved in the 4-1 victory.