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Friday, December 12, 2014

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas will be in attendance Saturday when the Lockport Express hosts the Roc City Royals at Cornerstone Arena.

Santa Claus will hand out candy canes to the young — and young at heart — as the Express looks to go 16-6 heading into the month-long winter break. Lockport and Roc City have played four times this season with each team notching two wins against the other.

Express GM and Head Coach Frank Vecchio says he's very happy with how the first half of the season has gone, saying the teams 15-6 record to this point is "a testament to the talent pool right here in Buffalo and its surrounding areas, as every player except two on our roster are locally groomed."

Some fans have noticed that Lockport seems to simply have more players than other teams in the NA3EHL. Vecchio explains that the reasoning for that is "we have really focused on making our program a positive place to be.  Our players develop as players and people and are given the opportunity to move on to the next level of play.  We have created an atmosphere that our players enjoy being in and it attracts players."

A new state-of-the-art arena doesn't hurt either. "By January, we expect the entire building to be completed, with the Pro Shop that our team will manage, workout facility, concessions and restaurant."

Vecchio also credits the team's staff. "I will put David Kasperek's hockey knowledge and coaching abilities up against anyone's without hesitation. Players learn how to play the game the right way here and our staff has the contacts to help promote our players."

Saturday's game is at 7 p.m. at Cornerstone CFCU Arena. Visitors are asked to use the northern entrance again.

Following Saturday's game, the Express won't play again until Jan. 10 when the take on the Syracuse Stampede in Syracuse before returning to Lockport the following weekend for a three-day league showcase. The tournament will feature 15 NA3EHL games over the course of the weekend, including three by the Express.

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