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Saturday, January 17, 2015
New Hampshire Fighting Spirit players chase the puck in the Jersey Shore end of the ice in Friday's first game of the NA3EHL 2K15 Junior A Showcase. Jersey Shore went on to win in overtime. (PHOTOS BY SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)


It truly was hockey day in Lockport.

Even before the NA3EHL press conference at Cornerstone CFCU Arena, the place was buzzing with hockey moms and dads watching their kids on the ice. There were lines at the concession stands and people checking out the wares at the newly opened pro shop. Visitors even got to use the "tower" entrance for the first time. Somehow in less than 24 hours everything came together.

John Ottaviano, president of the Lockport Ice Arena and Sports Center Board of Directors said the arena is about 90 percent complete. However, it is fully functional.

Jersey Shore, 2 - New Hampshire 1 (OT)

Adam Skutchan of the Jersey Shore Wildcats carries the puck while 
Konstantin Mamedov watches on.
On the ice, the weekend showcase couldn't have asked for a better game to kick things off as the number one team, the Jersey Shore Wildcats took on the New Hampshire Fighting Spirit, the league's second-best team. The Fighting Spirit lived up to their name, nearly surprising the undefeated Wildcats.

After a scoreless first period, Jersey Shore's Adam Skutchan netted a short handed goal on New Hampshire netminder Adam Higdon with the help of Alexandre Racicot. New Hampshire came back to tie it just a minute and two seconds later when Ryan Dunfield got a shot past Tyler Howat. Chris Babineau assisted on the goal.

Tied after the two 25-minute periods, the game went into sudden death, where Frederic Ampleman maintained Jersey Shore's unbeaten record by scoring an unassisted goal on Higdon at 4:32.

With the win, Jersey Shore improves to 31-0, while New Hampshire is now 21-3-1.

Wilkes-Barre, 6 - East Coast, 3

Wilkes-Barre and East Coast players pause for the Canadian and American
National Anthems prior to the start of their game.
The second game of the showcase featured a combined 100 shots, nearly two per minute of the 51-minute game, as the Wilkes Barre Miners doubled up on the East Coast Minutemen 6-3.

Wilkes-Barre scored first on a goal by Lewis Hackling. East Coast netted the next three with a pair by Anton Ridgard with a Samu Landen goal sandwiched between them. Then Wilkes-Barre hammered down and scored five more. The goals were rung by Jonathan Wisten, Austin Bandura, Guillaume St. Germain, Derek Bureau and Daniel Leisser.

Wilkes-Barre's record improved to 11-15, while East Coast remains winless on the season at 0-24.

Of note, the Minutemen bench sported 23 players. When they were last in town to play the Express on Dec. 6, the team had just 13 players.

Lockport, 4 - Cape Cod, 0

Spectators watch on as the Lockport Express takes on the Cape Cod
Islanders. Officially the game had an audience of 328. But that didn't
account for those watching from the upper lobby. (CRAIG BACON / 
Lockport Express goaltender Tyler Shotwell only had to stop 11 shots during the third game of the showcase Friday night. But he stopped all 11 for the shutout.

The home team, meanwhile, got off 39 shots of their own en route to a 4-0 victory over the Cape Cod Islanders.

Jacob Burford started the scoring 3:47 into the first period, assisted by last week's NA3EHL Offensive Star of the Week, Anthony Merante and Nicholas Siracuse. Not to be outshone by his own teammate, Siracuse netted his own goal at 8:28, assisted by Frank Vecchio Jr. and Merante. Vecchio also scored a goal, assisted by Siracuse, as did Daniel Golba.

There were a combined 42 minutes of penalties during the 50-minute game. Each team had a player ejected: Alex Bottenfield for the Express and Colton Hart for the Islanders.

Lockport moves to 19-6 on the season now, while Cape Cod falls to 12-11. The win was Lockport's 11th in a row.

Roc City, 5 - Maine, 4

Whether the Roc City Royals and Maine Wild had bad blood before Friday night's game, they certainly had blood during it as the teams combined for 72 shots and 81 penalty minutes.

The scoring went back and forth with Maine getting the first goal and Roc City getting the all-important final goal.

Drew Lupardo opened the scoring for Maine, assisted by Joe Giannini and Matt Jerome. Maine also had goals by Corey Wright, Alex Benson and Spence Cowand. Rochester goals came from Zach Bucholz, John Melcher, James Lockamyeir, John Wise and John Papas.

The win improves Roc City's record to 9-16, while Maine's record falls to 9-16.

Coming up

The showcase will see nine games today beginning at 9 a.m. when New Hampshire takes on Wilkes Barre. Lockport will play Maine at 2 p.m.

Immediate impact

Sub Delicious pizza available
at the arena.
Almost every speaker during Friday's press conference discussed the positive economic impact possibilities of the arena. That impact already made itself clear to at least two Lockport businesses.

Sub Delicious saw a small windfall Friday as they were called upon to make pizzas for the arena concession stand, which has not yet set up its oven.

21st Amendment owner Jon George, meanwhile, decided to open for lunch today due to the increased business and traffic he saw on Friday. The Locust Street bar is not usually open for lunch.

Winner, winner

Express Head Coach Frank
Vecchio, right, hands a pair
of tickets to Paul Papia, who
had won them from ENP.
Lockport Express Head Coach Frank Vecchio was kind enough to pass along a pair of season Express tickets to Lockport's Paul Papia on behalf of East Niagara Post.

The pair of tickets is good for all 15 games this weekend, as well as the rest of the home games for the 2014-2015 Express season.

Papia had won the tickets from ENP as part of a promotion leading up to this weekend's showcase. His name was selected at random this afternoon with help from the staff of Market Street Studios.

Papia intends to take his 12-year-old son Nick with him to the games, but as Nick gets in free, Paul has an extra ticket, and possibly a lot of friends who just remembered his phone number.

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