Chaminade’s Michael Conlon in front of net during the CHSAA...

Chaminade’s Michael Conlon in front of net during the CHSAA ice hockey championship at Abe Stark Rink in Brooklyn on Sunday, March 5, 2023. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Chaminade played from behind for most of the game but squandered a golden chance to take control Sunday in its state championship rematch against Nichols (Buffalo).

Nichols defeated Chaminade, 4-3, in the New York State CHSAA ice hockey championship game at Abe Stark Rink in Brooklyn.

Kieran Thompson scored a power-play goal on a breakaway with 11 minutes remaining in the third period to bring the Flyers back for the third time and tie it at 3-3.

Six minutes later, a cross check gave Chaminade another power play, this time with an opportunity to take the lead late in the final period, but the Flyers’ power play came up empty.

Less than 20 seconds after Nichols returned to full strength, championship game MVP TJ Bamrick got loose in front and scored what proved to be the winning goal with three minutes left.

“It’s always a good game against these guys from Buffalo. It’s always tough and we always seem to be right there,” Chaminade senior forward and captain Ryan Landolphi said. “We tied the game up and we honestly thought we had them, but we had a couple of bad bounces and ended up losing.”

Before the game, Chaminade coach Ed Smith said: “We’re the underdogs. They’re from Buffalo, so hockey is supposed to be their thing. We feel like we have the blueprint, though. We know we need to play near perfect.”

The schools may be more than 400 miles apart, but the teams were familiar with one another after facing off last season in the championship game. Nichols pulled out a 5-4 victory in overtime in that game.

“You could see that this was a very fast and quick-moving team that we were up against, and they have a couple big-time players out there,” Smith said. “I think we stuck with our plan, [but] we just came up a goal short. You can play near perfect and still come up short, but I don’t think we were near perfect today.”

Chaminade found itself down quickly. Nichols’ McLean Argette scored off an assist from Nathan Enwright 19 seconds into the first period. James Hedquist and Frank Petrone assisted on a goal by Michael Conlon to tie it with 6:40 left in the first period.

Nichols regained a 2-1 lead less than two minutes later as a Chaminade turnover in the defensive zone resulted in a goal by John Duffett.

Hedquist scored his team-leading 31st goal to tie it.

Less than two minutes later, Jake Caffrey scored 40 seconds into a power play for Nichols (17-1-1).

“We all have trust in each other. We have a great group of guys who will always fight back,” Landolphi said. “We have wristbands that say ‘leave no doubt,’ and we did that. We left everything out there. Even if it wasn’t the result we wanted, we have nothing to be ashamed about.”

Chaminade (19-4-2) will have to lean on a different group of players next season as the program will graduate nine seniors this year.

“Chaminade the last couple of years has started getting to the state championship,’’ Landolphi said. “My brothers were here before and they didn’t make it.

“This program is taking the next steps with Coach Smith. We send it down to the juniors now. Hopefully when we’re alumni, they’ll get a state championship and we can celebrate with them.”

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