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Saturday, March 28, 2015
By +Scott Leffler 
scott.leffler@eastniagarapost.com


While the award of "champion" may not have worked out for the Lockport Express for their inaugural season, the NA3EHL considered Lockport's Junior A hockey team deserving of other recognitions.

The team can boast the honors of having the Rookie of the Year in Anthony Merante; General Manager of the Year, Frank Vecchio; as well as being the Organization of the Year. Additionally, the Express led the league in attendance for the 2014-2015 season.

In announcing the Organization of the Year award, the NA3EHL said, "the Express had a great season on and off the ice. In addition to their on-ice success, the Express were a staple in their community, which included such events as a holiday food drive, hosting Santa for the kids at a home game, a charity hockey game involving local policemen and firefighters, post-game skates with fans and kids, development and growth of their youth hockey program and finally the opening and ceremonies surrounding their new state-of-the-art arena."

Explaining Vecchio's award, the league said, "On the ice, Vecchio guided the Express to the 2nd place finish in the Western Division during the regular season with a 24-13-3 record. They also handed Jersey Shore their only loss of the season. Off the ice, the Express endeared themselves to their community and got tremendous support this season, leading the league in attendance. The Express also enjoyed the comforts of their new home, the Cornerstone Arena, which opened midway through the season, with the Express hosting one of the league’s Showcases."

Meanwhile, of Merante, the league said, "Merante, a 19-year-old rookie from Niagara Falls, New York, ended up leading the Express in scoring this season with 61 points in 41 games played. Merante (6’0/175) ranked tied for 5th among all NA3EHL players with his 61 points, while his 34 assists was tied for 3rd and his 27 goals ranked 7th. During the middle part of the season, Merante went on a 13-game scoring streak, in which he recorded 33 points during that time span."

In addition to the awards, Express forward Nick Siracuse was selected to the 2014-2015 NA3EHL All-Star Team. 

Vecchio said the community is largely responsible for the "Organization of the Year" award, saying without their participation, the team could not have accomplished all that it had.



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