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Boys Fed Hockey: Sweet Home and Starpoint off to quick starts

PANTHERS POUND LIONS, WIN 6-2

The Sweet Home Panthers used an offensive explosion in the second and third periods to take down the Lockport Lions on Saturday by a score of 6-2.

The latter two periods were the keys to the Panthers’ victory, but the first period was a cause for concern for Panthers coach David Gerspach.

“I thought we looked a little rusty out of the gate,” Gerspach said. “We played last night as well and I think we looked a bit tired. It was a battle out there today, and give credit to Lockport. They gave us 110 percent out there.”

Max Hertel gave the Lions a quick 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the contest, but the Panthers answered right back with a tally on the powerplay from Andrew Czyz. Tyler Edholm then made the score 2-1 for the Panthers, but Jared Stahli lit the lamp for the Lions and tied the score again going into the first intermission.

The turning point in the contest, however, came courtesy of a roughing penalty on Lions goaltender Kyler Nowak early in the second period. On the ensuing man-advantage for the Panthers, Kyle Neudorf scored to give his team a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Edholm, Czyz and Neudorf would all add their second goals of the game to help their team win by a four-score margin.

When pressed, Gerspach named a few areas of concern that could stand to improve for his team.

“Honestly, I think everything could have been better today,” Gerspach said. “Forecheck and powerplay could have been better and we didn’t move the puck really well. Our penalty kill was good though, and that’s a major reason why we won.

“A 4-0 start is definitely what we wanted though. We’ve pretty much won every game convincingly, both on the score sheet and in shots. But we still have room to improve, and we need to get to work on those areas going forward.”

SPARTANS SNEAK PAST BULLDOGS, WIN 2-1

The Starpoint Spartans needed overtime to down the Kenmore East Bulldogs on Saturday and emerged with a 2-1 victory.

It was an example of character for the Spartans, according to coach Clayton Wilson, as the team faced adversity throughout but never gave up.

“The boys never quit,” Wilson said. “We were down 1-0 and took a bad penalty midway through the game and I didn’t know how our bench was going to react. They stayed focused, and that focus led to a win.”

It was a low-scoring affair with not many shots on net – and according to Wilson, that was the way his team liked to play.

“We preach defense first,” Wilson said. “If you take care of your defensive zone first and your goaltending is good, you’ll always be in every game. We’re not a team that’s going to score a lot of goals, but we don’t give up a lot either.”

After a scoreless first period, the Bulldogs were the recipient of a penalty shot and it lead to a goal by Rocco Bonaffini. A short while later, the Spartans found themselves shorthanded when Kyle Woodard went to the penalty box on a slashing call, but Chuck Schmidl tied the game at one on a breakaway.

In overtime, Tom Mazgaj crashed the Bulldogs’ crease after a wrap-around attempt and stuffed the game-winner in the back of the net, giving the Spartans the win.

Wilson said that one area of concern for his team going forward was the need to be patient with the puck.

“The game has changed to the point where everyone wants to carry the puck through every zone and no one wants to dump it into the corners,” Wilson said. “Believe it or not, you can still maintain possession of the puck after you dump it in and regain it. If we do that, we can get better at possession of the puck in the offensive zone and goals will come.”

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