Niagara Gazette

Sports

January 24, 2013

N-W hockey tops Will. North, readies for St. Joe's

Niagara Gazette — Before Thursday night’s game against Williamsville North, Niagara-Wheatfield's top-line pairing of Anthony Veckich and Mike Parisi found out they would be split up for the game.

But after the Falcons went down 3-0 midway through the second period, the two found themselves back on the same line, and the decision by head coach Rick Wrazin paid dividends as N-W came back to beat Will. North, 4-3, Thursday at Hyde Park.

Parisi finished the game with two goals, while Veckich had a goal and two assists.

“It’s a really big two points for us. Everything’s tight,” Wrazin said. “If the two had gone the other way we would have been neck-and-neck with North.”

The Spartans (3-6) saw their former three-goal lead become a deficit shortly after Jon Lunney was called for slashing with 4:36 remaining in the game. N-W's Matt Paonessa won the ensuing draw to Ryan Logar, who corralled the puck from his left wing position and beat Spartan goaltender Matthew Ladd glove side. The goal came just three seconds into the power play.

That proved to be the game-winner, as Nate Sommers was brilliant in net down the stretch, stopping all 17 pucks he faced in relief.

Starter Alexis Becker was pulled after the Spartans’ third goal with 8:32 left in the second. She recorded 15 saves on 18 shots. Wrazin doesn’t fault his starter as the reason for the early deficit, however, as the team struggled in front of her.

The Falcons (6-2-1) came out flat, and the Spartans took advantage. They controlled the play for much of the first half of the game, as N-W didn’t have an answer for the Spartans’ physicality.

“Our kids need to get used to that, that’s how most teams are going to come out against us,” Wrazin said. “It’s been happening more and more lately, and I think we got a little shy when they did it.”

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