Weekly Feature

2008-01-02 / Sports

Holiday rest no gift for Tigers' Federation hockey

Senior Al McQuiggan scored his second goal of the season and sophomore Sean Smith recorded 25 saves as the Amherst Tigers' Federation ice hockey team lost to St. Francis, 4-1, on Thursday night at the Amherst Pepsi Center.

"We played sloppy for the first two periods," said Tigers' coach Rich Crozier. "Excuses aside, the long holiday break really hurt our team. We were off the ice for four straight days and it really showed for the first two periods."

The Tigers beat Williamsville South last Saturday, 3-1, and did not play or practice before Thursday's contest.

"We called all over, but ice at this time of the year is hard to come by," said Crozier. "We did have an opportunity to skate at 7 a.m. the day after Christmas, but I was not interested in doing that to my team. The holidays are a time for them to be with their families."

The Tigers got off to a great start against St. Francis, scoring first to make the score 1-0. On the power play, senior Steve Rubach won the faceoff back to McQuiggan. McQuiggan wasted no time and let off a rocket of a wrist shot that beat the St. Francis' goalie in the top corner. McQuiggan's goal extended his point-per-game streak to four games. Rubach's assist was his fifth point of the season.

"It was great to get on the board first," said Crozier. "We've had to play from behind a lot this season."

Unfortunately for the Tigers, St. Francis had other plans. St. Francis tied it up with 1:20 left in the first. After some sloppy play by the Tigers, St. Francis scored three quick goals in the first seven minutes of the second period.

"We called a timeout for a much-needed wake-up call," said Crozier. "On the positive side, we were able to stop the bleeding and actually played some good hockey after that."

St. Francis did not score after the midway point of the second period. "We're disappointed because we really defeated ourselves," said Crozier. "This isn't the team that we've been in the last three weeks. We were sloppy and didn't make very smart plays. I'll make sure we are ready for Sweet Home on Thursday."

On Tuesday, the entire Tigers' team attended the Winter Classic Game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The team received the tickets from Coach Crozier's father, Joe Crozier. Joe Crozier is a former coach and now a consultant for the Buffalo Sabres.

On Thursday, Amherst takes on cross-town rival Sweet Home at 9 p.m. and at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, they will get a rematch with St. Francis. Both games are at the Amherst Pepsi Center.

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