MASSENA - The Massena Central hockey team generated some Division I tournament history in capturing the NYSPHSAA championship this past weekend at the Utica Aud.
With their 4-1 win over Ithaca High of Section 4, the Raiders became the first-six-time Division I champion. They also surpassed their record of championship game appearances by playing in their ninth tournament final. Massena is now tied with former perennial Division II powerhouse and Section 10 rival Salmon River, which has moved to Division I the past two seasons, for most state titles and most title games played.
1981 - Massena 4, Ithaca 1; 1982 - Massena 7, Rye 0; 1993 - Massena 10, Saratoga 0; 1995 - Massena 6, Pittsford 3; 2008 - Massena 3, West Genesee 2 (3OT); 2014 - Massena 4, Ithaca 1.
1981: In the second year of the tournament, Massena successfully capped a 26-3 season with a 4-1 win over Ithaca. Jim Hulls first of two goals gave the Raiders an early lead just 1:16 into the game and Tim Tyo netted the eventual game-winner at the 7;51 mark of the opening frame.
1982: Jim Hill generated a natural hattrick in a span of 8 minutes, 15 seconds as the Raiders fired 52 shots at Rye netminder Dean Bodnar en route to posting convincing 7-0 win over the Garnets for their second straight state Division I title under the guidance of lengendary coach Stan Moore.
1993: The Raiders had knocked off Rochester Aquinas 4-2 in the semifinals before going to breakaway to a 10-0 win over Saratoga in what still stands as the most lopsided championship game in the history of the state tournament. Massena built a 4-0 lead in the first period then broke the game open with six goals over the first 5:09 of the second period to complete a Section 10 sweep of championship honors as Canton Central claimed the Division II title on a weekend that saw players and fans alike stranded in Utica an extra night due to a three-day blizzard that swept across the state.
The 1993 championship was coach Moores last.
1995: Two years later, with longtime assistant coach Tim Long having taken over the head coach duties, the Raiders jumped out to a quick lead when Kory David connected just nine seconds into the game. Massena went ahead 2-0 three minutes later before Pittsford rallied to score the next three goals.
Josh Spanburgh then took charge for the Raiders, connected for three of the next four goals of the game in the 6-3 win.
2008: The Raiders ended a 13-year drought with their most dramatic championship win as Mike Mailhot fired home a loose puck with 29 seconds left in the third overtime frame to lift Massena to a 3-2 win over West Genesee under the guidance of first-year head coach Joe Phillips. With the win, the Raiders tied Ithaca for the most state Division I hockey championships with five.
OTHER FINALS APPEARANCES
1983 - Skaneateles 4, Massena 2; 1987 - Ithaca 5, Massena 3 1992 - Suffern 3, Massena 2 (OT).
1983: Massena entered the Division I final as the top-ranked team in the state with a 22-1 record but the Lakers denied the Raiders their third straight championship by pulling off a 4-2 upset victory.
1987: Massena built an early 2-0 lead before the Little Red rallied for the first of their five state championships.
1992: After advancing the title game with an 8-3 win over Rochester Aquinas, the Raiders worked their way to a 3-2 lead heading into the final minute of regulation before the Mounties pulled their goalie and tied the game with 30 seconds left. Suffern then went on to produce the game-winning goal 3:05 into the first overtime period.