BY JONATHAN SKUZA
BROCKPORT, N.Y.– Colin Smith is like all seniors and doesn’t want his season to end.
He made sure his team’s 2022-23 campaign didn’t end on Sunday evening.
Smith’s 45-save performance helped No. 3 seed Webster Schroeder win its first Class B sectional title since 2014 with a 2-1 victory over top-seeded Churchville-Chili.
“It was kind of lose and go home,” Smith said of his mindset going into sectionals. “I’m a senior, I’m not playing college hockey, so this is my last shot. I decided I’m not letting that other team score. They’re going to have to put up 46 shots to even get one.”
Smith saw nearly half his workload in the second period when the Saints put 21 shots on the senior goaltender. The Warriors had a third of the shot total and found the back of the net twice in the middle frame.
Sophomore forward Jason Simons scored both of the Warriors’ goals. Simons fired home a shot from the slot set up by fellow sophomore Nolan Roughsedge to break the scoreless tie nearly five and a half minutes into the period. The sophomore forward caused a turnover and drove down the ice to put away his second of the period unassisted with just over five minutes remaining.
“It feels amazing,” Simons said. “I got hurt in the middle of the season, but I tried to come back and really tried to just help the team any way I could.”
The Warriors’ defense limited Churchville’s second chances by cleaning up rebounds in front of Smith. Webster Schroeder killed off two key penalties in the game. One penalty came with just under five minutes to go in the contest.
“I think we have one of the best PKs in the league,” the senior goaltender said of Schroeder’s penalty kill. “Our guys put their noses down and go to work. It’s incredible their work ethic. In practice, they’re diving for pucks, they’re throwing their body on the line. These guys wanted it more than anybody I know.”
Smith saw double-digit shots each period and stopped everything he saw like he had done all postseason. Smith faced 40-plus shots in back-to-back games en route to helping his team reach the promised land.
“My coach always says see puck, stop puck,” he said. “It’s really all I tried to do.”
Said Schroeder coach David Broussard: “He cares so much. He cares about his teammates. He cares about the results. He knows he’s got one job and he cares about doing that job very well.”
Broussard won the program’s first title in nine years in his first year at the helm of Webster Schroeder after previously serving as an assistant coach with the program. In doing so, the Warriors denied Churchville-Chili its first-ever sectional crown.
The Warriors had previously lost twice to the Saints during the regular season and made the necessary adjustments when it mattered the most.
“We just really tried to focus on how good we know they are, how potent they are offensively and we really worked on all five guys working together to try to slow them down,” Broussard said. “We wanted to take the middle away. They like to generate everything through the middle of the ice. We wanted to focus on that area and push them to the outside.”
Jesse Prue was able to get Churchville-Chili on the board with 38 seconds left in regulation with a set-up pass from Tyler Eberhart from behind the net with an extra attacker. The Saints pressured all game long with multiple scoring chances in every period including hitting the post in the second period.
“There’s a lot to be proud of this season,” Churchville-Chili’s head coach Brian Young sais. “It didn’t end the way we want it to here in the last game, but we had so many kids that broke school records and individual point tallies that were just off the charts. They accomplished so many great things this year.”
Like every high school championship game, the emotions and intensity were felt through the Wegmans Ice Arena on the campus of SUNY Brockport from the moment the puck dropped to the final whistle when a new champion had been crowned.
Webster Schroeder advances to the NYS Division 2 Regionals next Saturday against the Section III champion.
*Article has been updated to include the Webster Schroeder will play the Section III champion in the NYS quarterfinals.