BY MICHAEL MROZIAK email@example.com
Niagara Gazette — NIAGARA FALLS — Lew-Port goaltender Ryan Lasky stopped both shots he faced against Sweet Home in the shootout. However, it was his performance in overtime that was perhaps more important in the Lancers’ 3-2 win over the Panthers.
The Lancers squandered a 2-0 lead late in the third period and then put themselves into a shorthanded situation in overtime. Lasky, who finished the game with 38 saves, withstood all pressure put on him by the Panthers and kept his team alive.
His teammates rewarded him by scoring twice in three attempts during the shootout. After Joseph DeMunda gave Lew-Port the 1-0 advantage in the second round of shooting, Evan Korpolinski clinched the win with a goal on the next turn.
It was a hard-fought win against a Sweet Home squad that very patiently fought their way back from a 2-0 deficit.
“Sweet Home plays the type of game where they wait for you to make your mistakes,” said L-P coach Kevin Kirsch. “Our boys for the most part, they were very disciplined. We did make a couple of mistakes and it cost us the lead. We buckled down with overtime and were able to get into the shootout. It was worth it.”
Scott Meogrossi put the Lancers ahead with his first period goal, assisted by Joseph Laurendi and Christopher Harvey. That’s how the game remained until just over a minute into the third period, when DeMunda put Lew-Port ahead 2-0. Although Joseph Langer was given credit for the goal with DeMunda assisting, Kirsch and other witnesses stated that the official scoring should be reversed.
Sweet Home got on the scoreboard with 4:11 remaining on Connor Beaudet’s goal. Then, with 1:01 remaining in regulation and the Sweet Home goal emptied in favor of an extra attacker, Jason Raimondi tied the game with his goal.
The Panthers were then handed a golden opportunity to complete a comeback win in overtime with a power play. That’s when Lasky and the Lew-Port penalty-killing unit stepped up.
“We rely on the senior leadership,” said Kirsch. “With the years they’ve been through battles, they’ve earned the time and they came through with a big kill, kept us in it and we had the opportunity to win, and thank goodness for the shootout.”
Hilton 3, Grand Island 1
The Grand Island Vikings came into Saturday off an emotionally charged win late Friday night against the host Niagara Falls Wolverines.
There were no signs of emotional or physical fatigue from that late game, though, as the Vikings and Hilton Cadets traded several good-quality scoring opportunities in a fast-moving, back-and-forth game Saturday that remained scoreless through the first two periods of play.
Hilton finally broke the 0-0 draw with 10:55 remaining in the third period when, with just three seconds remaining in a Cadet power play, Frank Gaffney backhanded a puck over Grand Island netminder Nick Bonora. About a minute and a half later, a giveaway in the Grand Island zone set up Jake Palumbo’s goal that proved to be the game winner.
After Austin Bull’s goal put Hilton up 3-0, TJ Morgan scored for Grand Island to break up a shutout bid.
Bonora was named Grand Island’s MVP of the game.