Niagara Gazette — NIAGARA FALLS — Their final scores at the inaugural Cataract City Hockey Classic may have been disappointing, but Niagara Falls High School’s hockey program has already recorded five wins early into the Western New York Hockey Federation season. In addition, the Wolverines were more than capable hosts at their inaugural hockey showcase at Hyde Park Ice Pavilion this weekend.
In spite of their two losses, they sent a message to the Western New York hockey community: we’re here. And we’re growing.
The Wolverines gave up an early goal but otherwise stayed close with Victor High School in the early stages of Saturday morning’s Classic matchup. However, coming off a tense, emotional 7-5 loss to Grand Island late Friday night — a game that did not finish until after Friday’s press deadline — the Wolverines ran out energy as Saturday’s game against Victor progressed.
“I think it was a big factor,” said Niagara Falls head coach Stan Wojton. “We came out flat. We dug ourselves a hole and we battled back again (Friday) night but it’s very difficult to come back and try and do that twice in 12 hours.”
Niagara Falls (5-1-1 league, 5-3-1 overall) conceded two more goals in the second period, then fell behind 6-0 in the third period before Nicholas Frame broke the shutout with his goal at the 11:44 mark of the third period, assisted by Ian Ivancic. The momentum was short lived, as Victor responded with two quick goals to skate to an 8-1 win.
Max Asklar turned aside 22 shots.
The night before, Niagara Falls went on a roller coaster ride with the more established Grand Island Vikings and stunned their guests with two quick goals late in the first period. Vince Colosi and Alex Hailey netted the goals to lift the Wolverines ahead.
The Vikings very quickly erased that lead in the second period as Mark McKenna scored two goals in 39 seconds to tie the game. Then, with 1:06 remaining, Robert Nappo scored to put Grand Island ahead, with Brandon Pratt adding a goal with just seconds remaining to send the Vikings into the second intermission with a 4-2 lead.