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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Grand Island shows resilience

It would be easy to point out that the Grand Island Vikings catapulted themselves to the top of the small schools in Section VI Boys Federation Hockey over the weekend.

But the Vikings learned so much more about themselves in the three games in which they picked up all six points.

They found that they can play from behind and while tired.

After their thrilling overtime victory over Kenmore West on Friday night, Grand Island played from behind in both of their wins over West Seneca East on Sunday and Kenmore East on Monday night.

“We had three tough games in four nights,” said Dylan Russo after scoring the game-winning goal in the Viking’s 3-2 overtime victory over Ken-East. “I’m not going to lie we were a little tired during the first and second period. These last two games have been tough ones.”

Russo’s goal came just 34 seconds into the overtime period, completing a come from behind in which the Vikings faced two, one-goal deficits.

“He’s just consistent out there,” GI coach Don Pray said of Russo. “He’s maybe slightly above-average in skating but it’s his vision on the ice. He finds those sweet spots on the ice.”

The perfect weekend means that Grand Island now has 14 points on the season and holds second place in Division III.

The Bulldogs found the back of the net first as Alex Ghosen slipped the puck in with 6:19 left in the first period.

GI responded in the second as Tyler Hunt knocked in the rebounded off Trevor Samplinski’s shot from the point.

However, Ken-East came right as Aidan Bova hit Eddie Jetter to give their team a 2-1 lead going into the third period.

Josh Conta tied the game back up scoring with 11:44 left in the third.

Kenmore East, who falls to 3-4-0-1 on the season, put out a strong effort and showed they can go toe to toe with any team.

East’s performance was indicative of their season so far. In their four losses, the Bulldogs haven’t lost by more than two goals.

“I couldn’t be prouder of how our guys played tonight,” Ken-East coach Kyle Pray said. “We had 16 guys dressed tonight and they battled until the end and played a fantastic game. We have to learn how to pull out the close games. We are a young bunch of forwards and we’re a little thin on defense, so we know what our potential is and we’ll see if we can align ourselves right toward the end of the season.”

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