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Late power-play goal lifts West Genesee over Mohawk Valley

Credit: Scott Kinville

The West Genesee Wildcats had to fend off a third-period comeback in Tuesday night’s 4-3 victory over the Mohawk Valley Jugglers.

Statistically, the West Genesee Wildcats were dominant in their Division I Section III Boys High School game against the Mohawk Valley Jugglers on Tuesday night. They outshot the Jugglers 43-13 and controlled zone time as well as puck possession for most of the night. Games are not played on a stat sheet, however, and it would take a late third-period power-play goal by Nick Meluni to secure a 4-3 victory.

The Wildcats entered the game ranked eleventh in NYS Division I, and one point out of first place in Section III Division I. They opened Tuesday night’s contest by putting together about as good a first period as one could hope for in a road game. They launched twenty-one shots on Mohawk Valley goaltender Noah Narolis while allowing only four. They used that momentum to stake themselves to a 3-0 lead in the first period.

Goal number one came off the stick of Jonah Vormwald, who burst into the Mohawk Valley zone and snapped a shot past Narolis to open the scoring. Christian Ball scored the game’s second goal when Narolis got some of his shot from the high slot but not enough, and it barely trickled over the goal line and in.

West Genesee got their third goal in the closing minutes of the first period when Ball set up Luke Alfieri, who fired a laser into the top of the net from the right circle. Although he allowed three goals, Narolis made several big saves in the opening frame that prevented the scoring gap from being worse.

The second period started as a continuation of the first, with the Wildcats continuing their shot barrage on Narolis and the Jugglers. They got a two-minute power play with 14:20 left in the period, and although they got some good looks, Mohawk Valley killed it. That penalty kill seemed to give the Jugglers a boost. With just over eight minutes remaining in the middle frame, they got on the scoreboard. Mason St. James beat a surprised West Genesee goaltender Luke Beck with a wrist shot to make the score 3-1.

The Mohawk Valley Jugglers celebrate their second-period goal during Tuesday night’s game. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

Narolis made a big stop on Jesse Desena with five seconds left to keep the score 3-1 heading into the second intermission. The Wildcats were outshooting the Jugglers 32-6 at this point, but the home team was still down by only two goals.

Mohawk Valley Boys High School Hockey Schedule 2023-24

The teams exchanged unsuccessful power play attempts early in the third period. Mohawk Valley was much more aggressive on the attack in the third period and it paid off with 11:22 left. Kyle McReynolds got in all alone on Beck, who stopped McReynolds’ original backhand attempt, but the junior forward roofed the rebound to get the Jugglers within one.

West Genesee Boys High School Hockey 2023-24 Schedule

Fourteen seconds later, Mohawk Valley tied the game. Sean Graziano put a loose puck on the right side of the West Genesee crease over Beck and in. Suddenly, Mohawk Valley went from what looked like a tough night to being within one goal of a major upset.

The score remained tied until the closing minutes of the third period. West Genesee went on the power play with 2:39 remaining, and Wildcats head coach Frank Colabufo called his timeout. It was a smart move, as his team took the lead at 1:58 remaining as Nick Meluni tipped a point shot over Narolis and into the net. That concluded the scoring in the game, and the visitors skated away with a one-goal victory.

With the win, West Genesee improved their record to 11-3-1 overall and 5-0-1 in Section III Division I – giving them eleven points to overtake first place. Mohawk Valley falls to 3-12-1 overall and 1-6 in Section III Division I.

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