Nov 30, 2021

Over the next eight weeks, the Rochester Americans will be front and center on the local high school hockey scene as part of a new weekly series that will feature the latest news and notes, scores and stats of select Section V games around the Greater Rochester Area. 

This week’s High School Game of the Week pits the Fairport Raiders against the Victor Blue Devils on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 7:15 p.m. in the season-opener between the two teams. The matchup will be a rematch of the 2020 Section V Class A championship game, which Victor won in thrilling fashion in overtime after falling in a 2-0 deficit.

Fairport, playing its first of a season-long six-game homestand to open the season, will see a 20-game schedule against mostly Section V opponents, with the only two exceptions being on Jan. 29 when the Raiders host Baldwinsville before closing out the regular season against Orchard Park on Feb. 12.

With only eight returning players from the previous season, the Raiders are among the youngest teams in Section V following the departure of their top two offensive players in senior forwards Colin Herrington and Robbie Crowley. Herrington led all Fairport skaters in goals (8), assists (8) and points (16) during the team’s truncated 2020-21 campaign while Crowley finished second on the team in scoring with eight points (5+3) in 12 games. Herrington recorded at least one point in each of the 12 games last season, including a season-high four-point effort (2+2) in the team’s 5-4 loss to Penfield back on Feb. 21 of this year.

McLean Ralston is the only returning goaltender from last season. He along with fellow netminders Connor McRae and John Houppert will split the goaltending duties for the Raiders, who are seeking their first Section V championship since 2014 and fifth overall. Fairport is also 10-time league champions, with its most recent title coming back in 2019.

Victor has dominated the local high school hockey scene as of late, winning the Class A Section V five times since 2005, culminating with a Division I New York State Championship in 2018.

The Blue Devils are coming off a 10-2 season in 2020-21 and were one of just three teams across Section V to reach the 10-win mark during the COVID-19 shortened campaign. Victor outscored its opposition 38-12 to advance to the 2021 Section V championship game only to fall to Pittsford in triple overtime. The team also posted a nine-game win streak during the month of February.

Colin McNamara returns for his senior season in 2021-22 after leading the team with 10 goals and finishing second among all Victor skaters with 13 points in 12 games last year. McNamara, who also led the Blue Devils with three power-play goals, posted a season-best seven-game goal-scoring streak during the month of February, including a hat trick in the 5-1 win over Pittsford on Feb. 13.

The Victor hockey program has served as the springboard for a handful of local players who have gone on to further their careers, but none more notable than defenseman David Farrance. The now 22-year-old had a brief stint with Blue Devils, collecting 46 points over 21 games while also playing in the United States Premier Hockey League with the Syracuse Stars U-16 program. In 2014-15, he was named the USPHL MVP and Defenseman of the Year in addition to being named a First-Team All-State selection with Victor.

Farrance later joined the U.S. National Team Development Program for two seasons (2015-17), where he played under current Buffalo Sabes head coach Don Granato and former Amerks assistant coach John Wroblewski, before committing to Boston University.

During his junior season with the Terriers, Farrance led all NCAA defensemen in scoring with 43 points (14+29) across 34 games. For his efforts, he was named to the Hockey East First All-Star Team and was named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

After helping Team USA claim the gold medal at the 2017 IIHF World U18 Championship, Farrance was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the third round (92nd overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft.

He made his NHL debut with Nashville during the 2020-21 season, appearing in two games and becoming the 89th Terrier in program history to make it to the NHL, and is currently in his rookie season with Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League, where he leads all defensemen and ranks fourth on the team in scoring with 10 points (1+9) in 17 games.

Other notable Victor alumni include Nick Peluso, who recently announced his commitment to play for the University of Maine Black Bears following one season in the United States Hockey League.

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