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The Buffalo News (New York)
Erie Community College's men's hockey season ended on a sour note in more ways than one on Sunday in Binghamton.
Dakota College of Bottineau (N.D.) came out of a 4-4 tie with three third-period goals and defeated the Kats, 7-4, in the championship game of the National Junior College Athletic Association championship game hosted by Broome County Community College.
After a brief scuffle in the final minute of the game, ECC's Brandon Day, a freshman defenseman from West Seneca, stormed out of the penalty box onto the ice and leveled the referee who had broken up the fight. The remaining 39 seconds of the game were called off while the referee was attended to.
An ECC spokesman referred The News' inquiries about the incident to Director of Athletics Peter Jerebko, who has not issued a statement on the matter.
ECC had battled back from a two-goal deficit to tie the game in the second period before losing what is the last NJCAA championship game in men's ice hockey. The organization had announced that it was dropping sponsorship of a national championship because of the lack of participation by its member schools.
The Kats scored first on a power-play goal by Brendan McFall at 1:39. Dakota scored three unanswered and led 3-1 before Anthony Cybulski scored for the Kats with 6:09 left in the opening period. Nial Mills gave Dakota a 4-2 lead with a power-play goal at 8:38 of the second but Takiki Satoh scored for ECC at 10:04 and McFall's second of the game tied it with 5:52 left in the second.
Andrew Carriere's goal at 6:15 of the third put Dakota in front to stay. A goal by Charles Joly and an empty-net power-play tally by Harrison Aide with 39 seconds left finished the Kats, who ended the season with a 21-5-1 record.
ECC was assessed 40 minutes in penalties in the game, including a 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Ryan Piniewski of the Kats and the 10-minute game misconduct against Day for abuse of officials. That incident occurred while Luke Meyer of ECC and Reed Link of Dakota were involved in a scuffle for which each received roughing minors. Dakota was assessed 18 minutes in penalties in the game for nine minor infractions.
It was the 10th NJCAA title for Bottineau, which also defeated ECC in last year's championship game in Binghamton, 4-3, in overtime. ECC won the title in 2015.
McFall, Christian Nati and Michael Krause of ECC made the all-tournament team.
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