Wildcats are state hockey champions

Only one outcome - a state Division I championship - would satisfy the West Genesee ice hockey team after its previous two trips to the state "Frozen Four" at Utica Memorial Auditorium ended in disappointment.

On Sunday afternoon, the Wildcats got the outcome it wanted, beating Saratoga Springs 3-0 in the title game to earn the team's first state hockey crown since 2001.

"I'm so happy for our kids, our fans and for the town of Camillus," head coach Frank Colabufo said.

With its win on Sunday, WG completed a perfect season. Twenty-five teams in 2009-10, the Wildcats hit the ice. Every time, it won.

And 15 of those victories came through shutouts, so it was fitting that the championship was yet another instance of WG slamming the door on the opposition.

It didn't take long - 24 seconds, to be precise - for the Wildcats to seize the lead. Attacking from the opening face-off, WG worked until Adam King poked a shot past Saratoga goaltender Graeme Bulmer.

From there, both sides settled into a long scoring stalemate, even though WG controlled the flow of play. It attacked with regularity, and only Bulmer's fine work in the net kept the margin at a single goal.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats' defense, anchored by seniors Ryan Michel and Tim Bubnack, played close to perfection, limiting the Blue Streaks to a handful of scoring chances.

Saratoga's best looks came early in the third period, on the power play, when it had two point-blank shots at the net, but couldn't put it past Anthony Militello.

Then, with one of its trademark bursts, WG put it away. Fittingly, Michel, the team captain and newly-minted State Player of the Year, started it, going from end to end and blasting a shot past Bulmer with exactly eight minutes to play. A mere 42 seconds later, Erich Haney punched in the final goal of a perfect season.

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