Ice Hawks stunned in semifinals

The Ice Hawks' Austin Rust tries to get the puck past Long Island Royals goalie Corey Cairo during semifinal action in the USA Hockey Tier III Junior National Championship tournament at the Rochester Recreation Center. Also pictured is the Royals' Trevor Jones (27).

The Rochester Ice Hawks were so close to the national championship game they could almost taste it.

In three previous trips to the semifinals of the USA Hockey Tier III National Tournament, the Ice Hawks had fallen short.

Up 4-2 in the third period Monday against Long Island, it appeared 2012 would be the year the Ice Hawks would play for a gold medal.

But the game's final 10 minutes proved disastrous for the Ice Hawks. They let in four consecutive goals, including the game-winner with four minutes left, as Long Island stunned the home team 6-4 at the Rochester Recreation Center.

For Ice Hawks forward Tyler Beasley, it's a feeling he knows all too well. Beasley played for national runner-up El Paso last year.


"They both sting a lot," Beasley said. "This is family, so it hurts. I'm not really sure what happened. Maybe they wanted it more than we did, I don't know."

After Shaun Lymer put the Ice Hawks up 4-2 just 2:21 into the third period, it appeared a bad start to the game was erased. But the Royals controlled the final 10 minutes.

Ice Hawks coach Nick Fatis was upset, but he said he couldn't be disappointed with his squad. The Ice Hawks dealt with more injuries this season than any of Fatis' previous teams. At one point, they had only one healthy defenseman on the roster.

"This team overcame a lot to get here," Fatis said. "No, no way I'm disappointed. It hurts a lot to lose because I wanted it for these kids. They worked so hard to get here, so yeah, it stings. But they accomplished so much this season. It's just a tough time of year because this is family, and you don't like to see your family hurting."

After a rough first period, the Ice Hawks put three goals on the board in the second and led 3-2 heading to the third. Beasley, Jake Zarzycki and Nick Gorino scored for the Ice Hawks in the second.

Zarzycki said the Ice Hawks may have underestimated Long Island.

"Yeah I think we did a little bit; at the same time I don't think we were over-confident," he said. "We felt good going in, but that's just a really good team we played."

In the other national semifinal, Atlanta rallied to top Billings, Mont., 4-2. Atlanta plays Long Island at noon today for the national title.


"This team has nothing to be ashamed of," Fatis said. "We just came up short. We didn't come here to lose, but sometimes you just come up short."

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