The Lockport Express kept their playoff hopes alive while dashing those hopes for the visiting Skylands Kings. After a spirited 6-2 victory, Lockport moved within five points of Roc City, who lost 13-3 earlier in the day. The Royals have two games remaining, and the Express still have six to go on the season Meanwhile, the loss dropped the Skylands Kings out of playoff contention.
Erick Santiago opened the scoring for the Express, striking only four minutes into the first period. Michael Sokol and Domenic Senese were credited with the assists. Lockport extended its lead at 13:23 to 2-0 off the stick of Blake Bennett, from Andrew Logar and Luca Mazzo.
Craig Garrigan of Skylands cut Lockport’s lead in half only 1:23 into the second period. Blake Bennett responded at 4:39 to give Lockport a two goal lead once again. He was assisted once again by Logar and Mazzo. Still fighting for a spot in the postseason, Skylands struck again at 6:15 off the stick of Lionel Landry to draw within a single goal.
Chace Woods, playing in his first game for the Express, found the scoresheet in the second period as he buried the puck in the net behind Mathias Yttereng 7:58 into the period. Josh Evoy and Ryan Metzler assisted on the goal. Andrew Logar tallied his first of the contest at 10:40 of the second, with Gibson Stuart and Blake Bennett assisting.
While Logar’s goal was the end of the scoring in the second period, there was still more excitement in that frame. A scuffle in the corner behind the Lockport net with five minutes to go resulted in five ejections. Lockport’s Ryan Metzler and Mitch Thornton squared off against Steven Ford and Clayton Thomas.
On his way back to his bench, Thomas had an altercation with a member of the Express who was on the bench. After Thomas’ stick made contact with a player on the bench, Anthony Tomassi left the bench to defend his teammate. Tomassi was ejected immediately after the fight, and a long discussion ensued between the officials and coaches before Thomas was also ejected. The result was a 5-on-3 advantage for Skylands with one of the penalties for Lockport listed as a 5-minutes major. The Express was able to kill off both penalties
After the second period melee, gameplay settled down for the third period. Andrew Logar scored the only goal of the period at 14:54. Assists came from Blake Bennett and Chace
Despite being shorthanded for a good portion of the second period, Lockport was able to outshoot Skylands 52-45. Lockport goalie, Adam Partridge made 43 saves on the day. Partridge turned in an outstanding performance with several incredible saves. There were a couple instances where the Skylands players gave him a tap in appreciation after a particularly great save.
The Express will be back in action early this week as they take on the Southern Tier Xpress on Thursday morning at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena. Game time is 11:00am. Then Lockport will travel to Middleton, Massachusetts for a pair of games Saturday and Sunday against the East Coast Minutemen.
Blake Bennett and Nick Grupp will have a busy week. After the games in Massachusetts, they will be heading to Plymouth, Michigan to play in the NA3HL Top Prospects tournament on February 27th and 28th.
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