Tonawanda News — One thing that Kenmore East coach Kyle Pray has seen from his hockey team this season is its ability to handle adversity well.
Last night, the theme of his team was on display against Kenmore West at the Northtown Center in front of a packed crowd that swallowed up the Lexus feature rink.
The Bulldogs scored two unanswered goals in the second period that propelled them to a 5-2 win over the Blue Devils in a clash of two crosstown rivals skating in different divisions within the Western New York Hockey Federation.
“We kind of felt like it would be aggressive at first (with) two rivals going at it,” Pray said. “As we got into the game I felt like we picked up our speed a little bit more. Our advantage is our speed. As the game went on I thought we did a little bit better (with that).”
At the beginning of the second period the momentum of the game looked to be in Kenmore West’s favor, as the Bulldogs found themselves trailing 2-1.
But the patient Kenmore East offense erupted as AJ Marinelli buried a shot passed Kenmore West goaltender Sean Guetti to tie the game at 2-2 midway through the second period.
Moments later, on the power play, David Christopher scored a power play goal that put the Bulldogs ahead, 3-2. It proved to be the game-winning goal.
“We just kind of stayed composed,” Pray said. “We got a lucky bounce on our second goal and that kind of turned it around. Our power play worked really well. It was a good momentum change at that point.”
Also adding to the offensive attack were forwards Trevor Pray and Anthony Tulipane. Each had one goal apiece.
James Stewart scored both of Kenmore West’s goals.
With Thursday night’s win over Kenmore West, Pray said it will be a battle the rest of the season with for the top spot in the Fed’s second division.
“We’ve got North Tonawanda and West Seneca West next,” Pray said. “And we feel those are games if we play well we should win. So, right now we’re in a dog fight at the top of our division. Basically we’re trying to take one game at a time. Right now, every two points matters ... On any given night you can’t let (one game) slip away.”
Kenmore East is set to take on North Tonawanda tomorrow at the Hockey Outlet in Wheatfield. Game time is set for 4 p.m.
Meanwhile Kenmore West, which entered Thursday’s game tied for first in the Federation’s third division, faces Amherst on Saturday on the Olympic rink at the Northtown Center, beginning at 3 p.m.