Weekly Feature



2018-03-14 / Sports

Five schools represented on First Team

All-Bee Boys Hockey
by JASON NADOLINSKI
Reporter

The collection of talent comprising the First Team of all-stars on the 2017-18 All-Bee Boys Hockey Team — representing all three divisions within the Western New York Varsity Hockey Federation — comes from a variety of schools, all of which saw varying degrees of high-level success this season.

Two of this year’s First Teamers, in fact, met on the ice at the HarborCenter Sunday to play for the state’s Division II championship, while another backstopped his club to the state’s Catholic championship game earlier this month.

Needless to say, the six First Team players on this year’s All-Bee Team played major roles in their respective squads’ success.

Here is a look at this year’s First Team:

Andrew Bruno – Forward

Williamsville North

Andrew Bruno made the most of his opportunity to play alongside an elite-level goal scorer for the past three years.


The First Team all-stars on the 2017-18 All-Bee Boys Hockey Team come from five different schools, including two that played in Sunday’s state Division II Championship Game at the HarborCenter. First Team all-stars include, from left: Coach of the Year Mark Dantonio, St. Mary’s of Lancaster; Kyle Karoleski, St. Mary’s of Lancaster; Anthony Trigilio, Williamsville North; Andrew Bruno, Williamsville North; Jacob Fort, West Seneca West; and Tyler Edholm, Sweet Home. Player of the Year Brett Sardina, from Williamsville North, and First Team forward Danny Flynn, from West Seneca East, are missing from the photo. 
Photo by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com The First Team all-stars on the 2017-18 All-Bee Boys Hockey Team come from five different schools, including two that played in Sunday’s state Division II Championship Game at the HarborCenter. First Team all-stars include, from left: Coach of the Year Mark Dantonio, St. Mary’s of Lancaster; Kyle Karoleski, St. Mary’s of Lancaster; Anthony Trigilio, Williamsville North; Andrew Bruno, Williamsville North; Jacob Fort, West Seneca West; and Tyler Edholm, Sweet Home. Player of the Year Brett Sardina, from Williamsville North, and First Team forward Danny Flynn, from West Seneca East, are missing from the photo. Photo by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Bruno, playing on a line with 2017-18 All-Bee Player of the Year Brett Sardina, closed out his high school career by tying both the Williamsville North and the Federation Division I records for the most league assists in a single season by setting up his teammates 31 times this winter. The senior also had 11 goals in league play, helping him finish with 22 goals and 42 assists for 64 points in 23 total games played this season.

“Andrew was good just about every single game we played and was certainly one of our two go-to players,” North coach Bob Rosen said. “He sees the ice extremely well, makes great plays, and draws defenders to him, which opens up the ice for his teammates. He has that special ability to create a lot of offense. He did a great job of setting up Sardina in particular, which had a lot to do with him setting the school record and almost tying the league record.”

Bruno, an Honorable Mention All-Bee all-star last season, had a handful of notable games on the stat sheet this year, including a pair of three-assist performances against Lancaster in wins on Jan. 15 (6-3) and Feb. 11 (4-3). He kicked off his senior campaign with five assists in a lopsided 13-6 win over Frontier on Nov. 27 and was one point better (2 goals, 4 assists) in the rematch with the Falcons on Jan. 6. Bruno also had two goals and three assists in North’s playoff-opening 11-0 conquest of Niagara Falls.

“He does a good job of playing without the puck and getting to spots where he can get the puck,” Rosen said. “He and Sardina together, they know where they’ll be on the ice. They did a great job together of penalty killing, too, creating odd-man rushes on the penalty kill that helped them together score 14 short-handed goals this year.”

Though nothing is concrete at this point in time, Bruno is hoping to have the chance to play Junior-level hockey next year.

Tyler Edholm – Forward

Sweet Home

When state champion Sweet Home needed a goal this year, chances were the Panthers looked to Tyler Edholm to produce it.

The fourth-year senior — one of seven on Sweet Home’s roster this season — and state championship tournament Division II MVP led the Panthers this winter with a single-season record-tying 36 goals, which helped him reset the single-season record with 65 points. His breakout campaign vaulted him to second place among the Panthers’ career leaders for points, as he finished his time with Sweet Home with 73 career goals and 55 career assists for 128 points.

And the bigger the stage, the more likely Edholm was to produce. During Sweet Home’s playoff run, he recorded the game-winning goal against West Seneca East in the Federation Small Schools semifinals, had the team’s only tally in the Fed final loss to West Seneca West, scored twice in the state quarterfinals against Northeastern Clinton, had a third-period hat trick in the state semifinal with Auburn, and closed out his high school career with three goals and two assists in Sunday’s title-game rematch with West.

“Tyler’s definitely a natural goal scorer, and he needs just one chance to score,” Sweet Home coach Dave Gerspach said. “There was just one game all year when he didn’t have a point. He just uses his body really well and has an accurate shot, for sure. His size and his hands make him very difficult to defend, too. He’s just a super hard worker and a good teammate who’s super humble. Sometimes when you’re the best offensive player, you let people know it, but Tyler’s more interested in doing what he can to help his teammates thrive.”

Danny Flynn – Forward

West Seneca East

Danny Flynn has a knack for producing points.

The third-year senior and First Team Division II All-State all-star averaged just under two points per game in 48 regular-season league games for West Seneca East, finishing with 46 goals and 43 assists for 89 points. That production alone was enough to break the Trojans’ all-time record for points, but when non-league games are factored in, Flynn surpassed the 100-point mark for his career, thanks to his 55 goals and 51 assists in 69 total games.

Eight of those points (4 goals, 4 assists) came in nine career playoff games for Flynn, who was a Second Team All-Bee selection last winter.

“Danny’s a sniper, a grinder and a good penalty killer,” East coach Phil Prynn said. “He’s just a very tactical player. He’s everything you want in a winger. He’s a strong skater with a sick little skill set, and I think him playing lacrosse in the spring gives him the toughness to where he doesn’t shy away from contact.”

Flynn scored his 50th career goal and surpassed the 100-point mark for his career in a win over Kenmore West on Jan. 24, helping him finish with 22 goals and 16 assists for a team single-season record 38 points overall this season. His production (18 goals, 15 assists) in 16 league games this season also paced Division II.

More than his physical tools, though, Prynn believes Flynn’s success was a product of his desire to win.

“Danny’s just one of those guys who hates losing,” Prynn said. “He wants to win, he wants to score, and he wants to have that pressure — that’s where he really thrives. I remember his very first game of his sophomore year, his hands were shaking before the game so much that, if you had asked him to, there’s no way he could’ve carried a glass of water without spilling it all over the place — and yet he went out and scored a hat trick that game. He just gets so electrified playing the game, and he gets even better the brighter the spotlight is.”

Jacob Fort – Defenseman

West Seneca West

You know you’re doing something right when your coach calls you “flat out, the best defenseman I’ve ever coached.”

That’s who West Seneca West senior Jacob Fort was in Kevin Rozo’s eyes: simply the best. And he has the numbers to back that proclamation up; in 26 games this season, Fort tallied 16 goals and set teammates up for 21 others to finish with 37 points. Heading into the state semifinals, the First Team Division II All-State all-star was the Indians’ leading scorer by nine points and was plus-23 in plus/minus.

Fort, who had an assist in the state semifinal and scored a goal in the state final, is the program’s all-time leading scorer among defensemen; his point total this winter also set a single-season record among defensemen.

“Night in and night out, Jacob’s our best player on the ice,” Rozo said. “He can literally do it all; he can carry the puck, he can kill penalties, he can run the power play, and he’s got great hands to go along with a hard, low shot. He’s just the focal point of our team and he makes our transition go. I know if I was game planning against us, he’d be the first guy I’d try to neutralize.”

Fort, who was selected to play in this year’s Bowman Cup all-star showcase, is hoping to play Junior hockey next season.

“Jacob has just had a great career as a three-year defenseman for us, and he certainly has all the tools to play at the Junior level,” Rozo said. “He truly does love the game to the point where you can’t get him off the ice. He just always wants to be out there taking that extra shot or doing that extra rep in drill work.”

Anthony Trigilio – Defenseman

Williamsville North

For a defenseman, Anthony Trigilio’s best asset might just have been his offensive ability.

The repeat First Team All-Bee blue liner scored five of his eight goals, and had 14 of his 18 assists in league play this season to help boost his career total to 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists). The 46 points are a North program record for defensemen.

The third-year senior and Second Team Division I All-State all-star had two goals and an assist against Saratoga Springs on Dec. 9, and recorded two assists in the Spartans’ lopsided playoff-opening win over Niagara Falls.

“Anthony was a key component on our power play — he quarterbacked it for us — and was a good penalty killer, too,” Rosen said. “He was just a very good offensive defenseman with a good shot from the point and a good release. He really had no problem getting his shot through traffic, and he used his strength to his advantage, especially in front of the net. He’s going to be tough to replace, for sure.”

Rosen noted that Trigilio hopes to catch on with a

Junior team next season.

Kyle Karoleski – Goalie

St. Mary’s of Lancaster

When it mattered most, St.

Mary’s of Lancaster goalie

Kyle Karoleski stood tallest.

The Lancers’ junior netminder finished with just over 30 saves — many of which came down the stretch — to earn Niagara Cup MVP honors in guiding St. Mary’s past perennial Monsignor Martin powerhouse St. Joe’s. Among the most crucial of his stops was a 2-on-0 break that the Lancers ultimately converted into the game-winning goal at the other end.

He also had a handful of saves during a 90-second stretch in which St. Joe’s had pulled its goalie to try and notch the tying tally.

“The bottom line is, Kyle made some fantastic saves in that Niagara Cup final to help us preserve that win,” St. Mary’s coach Mark Dantonio said. “He came up really big for us in our play-in game with St. Francis, too. He just has a certain calmness about him that’s unparalleled. Kyle’s always been a level-headed, easy going kid; if he’s nervous, you don’t see it. And under pressure, he comes up even bigger.”

Karoleski, who had two shutouts among his 10 wins, has been on the team for two years, though last season St. Mary’s fielded a club-level team only after not having a team of any kind two winters ago. But, if ever there was a player to build a new program around, Dantonio believes you couldn’t ask for a better one than Karoleski.

“Kyle’s very much a part of the foundation for our program,” Dantonio said. “He’s just one of those kids who if you’re going to find an anchor for a team, he’s a great kid to have. He’s just really focused and works really hard. He takes the game of hockey very seriously; he’s on a Cheektowaga travel team that’s one of the best teams in the country at the 16U level. And he’s just a really good kid outside of the locker room, too. He’s just someone people gravitate to. He’s definitely the type of kid who we’re lucky to have at St. Mary’s.”

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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