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Saturday, December 13, 2014
Roc City kept pace with the Express through two periods. Then Lockport pulled away. (PHOTOS BY HEATHER N. GRIMMER / ENP PHOTOGRAPHER)


A new-look Roc City Royals held their own against the Lockport Express through two periods tonight at Cornerstone Community Federal Credit Union Arena before the Express won the game in the third period.

The Royals came into Lockport with a new head coach in Tom Donnelly and what appeared to be stronger fundamental hockey skills. Paired with a sloppy first two periods by the Express, the teams went into the third knotted at 3. The Express scored four in the final period, though, to take the game 7-3.

What had been a mostly clean hockey game was marred in the third by a fight that saw two of Lockport's top scorers receive major penalties. Nick Siracuse received a fighting major, another for making head contact, a game misconduct, and a fighting misconduct. Frank Vecchio Jr. also received a fighting major and a fighting misconduct for the same scrum. Rochester's Anthony DePetres and James Lockamyeir each received fighting majors in the scrum, as well. DePetres was also assessed a minor for instigating, while DePetres also received a misconduct.

Following the on-ice fight, there was an encounter between a Roc City player and a fan at the arena. The off-ice incident brought all 194 fans in attendance to their feet and headed toward the railing in the arena before the rink announcer asked fans to return to their feet.

The off-ice antics and the on-ice fight were more typical of the Royals that Express fans have come to know under their previous coach, who was reportedly let go by the team at the strong request of the league.

Lockport started the scoring at 9:03 of the first with a goal by Justin Blake, assisted by Daniel Golba and Alex Bottenfield. Anthony Merante made it 2-0 with a short-handed goal at 16:14, assisted by Vecchio. Roc City's Dominic Gruttadauria made it 2-1 at 19:31, assisted by Sam Cammilleri.

Roc City tied the game at 2 just 48 seconds into the second period, assisted by Anthony DePetres and John Wise. DePetres then made it 3-2 Rochester less than a minute later, assisted by John Wise and Gruttadauria at 1:35. Austin Kasperek scored just 14 seconds later, helped by Vecchio and Merante.

Lockport Head Coach Frank Vecchio said after the game he was not pleased with the Express' performance through the first two periods. But in the third, Lockport found their way, Roc City reverted to their old ways and the Express gave the fans something to cheer about.

Dillon Hayes put the Express up 4-3 at 3:02 of the third, assisted by Jordan Pocobello. Siracuse made it 5-3 Lockport at 4:24, assisted by Merante and Lockport's goaltender Tyler Shotwell. Jeff Avolio put the Express up 6-3 at 14:02, assisted by Daniel Golba and Jacob Burford. Hayes scored again with nine seconds to go in the game assisted by Christian Whitcomb.

Vecchio said he's pleased with the team's 16-6 record going into the Christmas break. He said the team could use a couple weeks to rest and heal but he probably won't use the whole month and is hoping to put together a few scrimmage games after Christmas.

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