17.4 C
Niagara Falls
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Sports: U13 Wolves win Niagara District title in 2-1 thriller
Coaches and players on the NOTL Wolves U13 Local League 1 team celebrate their league title. SUPPLIED

All season, the goal of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Wolves U13 Local League 1 team was to win the league championship — and they rounded out the year doing exactly that.

Seeded first after a seven-game preliminary round-robin playoff, the Wolves won their semifinal over the fourth-ranked St. Catharines Majors.

Then they took on the number 2 team, the Stoney Creek Warriors, in the final and skated to a “thrilling” 2-1 victory to capture the Niagara District Hockey League title.

Mike Cwiertniewski, who coached the team along with Dan Plomish and Mike Pillitteri, is immensely proud of his young players, noting that “every single player stepped up during the playoffs” and played their best hockey of the year.

Winning the championship was a tough grind as “it gets harder and harder the deeper you get into the playoffs,” Cwiertniewski said.

As a local league squad, the league title is the pinnacle and for these kids it is their Stanley Cup.

They came ready to play in the finale and Michael Collins popped their first goal soon after the puck dropped, Cwiertniewski said.

The Wolves held that 1-0 lead until midway through the second, when Stoney Creek managed its only goal.

“It was back and forth in the second,” Cwiertniewski said, but late in the period Matteo Rapone netted what stood up as the winning goal.

In the final frame, NOTL just kept the pressure on and focused on defence. Goalie Lucas Pillitteri was solid in net again, as he was all playoffs, the coach said.

In that third period, Stoney Creek had a tough time even getting into the NOTL zone, Cwiertniewski added.

“Everyone just played so well, a total team effort,” he said.

“It was a great way to cap off the season.”

Subscribe to our mailing list