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Monday, February 16, 2015

SYRACUSE — The Lockport Express went into Syracuse this weekend hoping for four points in two victories over the Syracuse Stampede.

The Express is guaranteed the second seed in the West Division of the NA3EHL. Their victories and losses for the remainder of the regular season won't affect the team's placement. So through the end of February, the games are practically just practice for the playoffs. But of course, the team wants to win. And Coach Frank Vecchio has the team aiming for second place overall in the NA3EHL.

Saturday evening, the Express scored four goals against the Stampede in a span of just over eight minutes —and two of them were shorthanded. It started with an Anthony Merante goal at 3:28 of the second period, assisted by Frank Vecchio Jr. and Justin Durkee. Merante scored again at 5:58, assisted by Justin Blake and Mark Friol. That goal came shorthanded as Daniel Golba was in the box for elbowing. Justin Blake added another shortie at 6:16, assisted by Christian Whitcomb and Merante. After a pair of Syracuse goals, Durkee made it 4-2 with an empty netter from Golba and Christopher Gasiewicz at 11:34. A Stampede power play goal with just 5 seconds to go in the period, made it 4-3.

Syracuse tied it at 15:48 of the third period, which sent the game into overtime. In the overtime period, Syracuse scored on the power play at 2:52. The Felix Landry goal was assisted by J.C. Lachapelle and Charles Blais Dionne.

Five of the nine goals scored Saturday were scored while Lockport was shorthanded — the Express were just lucky enough to score two of them. Of course, the Express had more than 40 minutes in penalties on 11 infractions compared to just 10 minutes on 5 infractions for the Stampede.

When the teams met again Sunday, Lockport players were more disciplined. The team still had double the penalty box time of Syracuse. But it was half as much as the day before and they had only six infractions compared to 11  on Saturday.

Sticking more closely to their gameplan had significantly better results on the scoreboard, leading to a 6-1 victory. Lockport's Nick Siracuse, who had been quiet as of late, scored a pair of goals, as did Gasiewicz. Syracuse's first came just 1:15 into the game, assisted by Gasiewicz and Golba. Gasiewicz' first game at 6:54, assisted by Durkee and Merante.

In the second period, Blake made it 3-0 Lockport, assisted by Merante and Jordan Pocobello at 14:30. Syracuse's offensive juggernaut made it 3-1 with a goal at 16:26, assisted by Travis Hyde. Siracuse put Lockport back up by three with a short-handed goal at 18:47, assisted by Jacob Burford.

Gasiewicz got his second goal of the tame at 6:45 of the third period, assisted by Golba and Gibson Stuart. Pocobello made it 6-1 at 16:42 assisted by Blake and Siracuse.

The overtime loss and regulation win gives the Express three of a possible four points on the weekend. Their record now stands at 24-10-2 for 50 points.

The Express next plays a three-game home stand against the league's top team, the Jersey Shore Wildcats. The three-game series starts Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Cornerstone CFCU Arena. They then play Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Express then concludes the regular season with a trip to Pennsylvania to play the Wilkes-Barre Miners on Feb. 27 and 28.

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