Eberhart's ice Lions return to action today at West Seneca West
Staff Reports Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Who needs pro hockey when Lockport High School’s promising ice Lions return to Federation action today looking for their second straight win of the season at West Seneca West?
Head coach Rick Eberhart’s 28-man, much-improved Lions roster is looking to continue to surprise the competition this winter season.
Lockport is without former captain and defenseman Tyler Haseley, who graduated last June, but much of the team’s core players have returned, making this year’s bench more talented than many previous teams.
“I’m optimistic that our offensive firepower this season will allow us to dictate the pace of games more often and hang in there with some of the perennial powerhouses in the Large School Division,” Eberhart said.
The Lions opened their season with an 8-5 non-league win over St. Mary’s back on Nov. 10 at the Hyde Park Ice Pavilion in Niagara Falls.
LHS senior Tracy Maracle-Pitrello led the Lions in that game with four points.
Lockport has also played Lewiston-Porter and Niagara Falls in a combined scrimmage earlier this month. The Lions were able to control much of the play in those efforts and kept the puck in the offensive zone most of the night.
Eberhart said that was a relief to Lockport’s trio of goaltenders — freshman Jack Igoe, senior Jillian Long and sophomore Albert Schreier, who all stopped shots in the scrimmage.
“This team understands that they can be successful if they work together each game and every shift,” said Lions assistant coach Tim Willett. “The team has been inspired by a modified Rudyard Kipling quote from The Jungle Book; ‘For the strength of the Pride is the Lion, and the strength of the Lion is the Pride.’ They will need to play as a unit to get past some of the tough teams they will see this year.”
Tonight’s game against West Seneca West is the first time in program history. Other opponents will include several NFL rivals, including Niagara Falls, Lewiston-Porter, North Tonawanda, Kenmore West, Niagara-Wheatfield, and Grand Island.
Most of this year’s Lockport team is made up of returning veterans from last year, which should help the Lions be competitive. Among the returners are seven seniors, all with a goal of making this team the best in the programs history.
Lions assistant captain Josh Pabon said, “Our hockey team is looking much better than years’ past. We have a lot of young and energetic players and I think their energy is going to help power us through the season.”
One of the Federation’s impact players this season is Lions’ senior captain Ricky Eberhart, who led the team last year in several categories, including goals, earning him MVP honors for the second time. He was one of the top players in the Federation and was named to the All-Federation First Team, as well as being selected to compete in the 8th Annual Bowman Cup High School Showcase at the First Niagara Center. where he led the scoring for his Buffalo Junior Year team in a win over the Rochester Junior Year team. His coaches and teammates are hoping he can top last year’s performances and lead the Lions into the playoffs.
Rounding out the ice Lions’ roster are seniors Alex Santana, Matt Linderman, Andrew Harzewski, Josh Pabon, Matt Feder, Ricky Eberhart and Glenn Cascia; juniors Brad Niedzialowski, Danny Gamble, Ryan Fisher, Will Lyons, Connor Haseley, Matt Pabon, Brian Walter, Allan Hollingsworth and Nick Deuil; sophomores Andew Hustad, Donte Kinney, Zach Long, Ryan Niedzialowski, Nate Brady and Nate Fura; and freshmen John Ottaviano, Dominick Morreale and Jack Igoe.
Assisting coach Eberhart behind the bench again this year will be Willett and Bill Watson.
LHS HOCKEY SCHEDULE
* — at West Seneca Town Rink; ** — at Northtown Center; *** — at Hyde Park; **** — at Dwyer Arena