The Erie Community College ice hockey team has won seven of its last eight games after a two-game sweep over regional rival Hudson Valley Community College last weekend. In two similar tight-checking games, Erie took Saturday's game 4-2 and Sunday's tilt 5-3.
Erie improves its overall record to 12-9 and more importantly, moves into second place in the region with a 6-4 regional record with two regional games yet to play. The top two teams in Region III are guaranteed a spot in the NJCAA Championship Tournament to be played in Troy, NY, February 22-23.
Hudson Valley held a 2-0 lead halfway through Saturday's game at Cheektowaga Recreation Center before the Kats got on the board with a goal by Bradley Jones at the 10:57 mark of the second period. Jacob Macchioni then tied the game when he rippled the net with 36 seconds remaining in the period.
Erie took the lead for good halfway through the third period with a power play goal by Brad Ferrell and then got an empty net goal from Kollin Kaleta for the final margin. Kaleta and Jones each had a goal and an assist in the game. Erie's Daniel Wenner stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced, including two breakaway attempts in the second period that kept the game within reach.
Macchioni had two goals, including the game-winner with 2:58 remaining in the game, to propel the Kat's to the win on Sunday. Jones, Ryan Logar and Nick Nadrowski also scored for Erie.
The Kats held a 3-1 lead after two periods before Hudson Valley responded with two goals in the first three minutes of the third period to tie the game.
Wenner stopped 19 of 22 shots in net to get the win.
Erie returns to action Saturday, February 8 when it hosts regional foe Mohawk Valley Community College at 3:20 p.m. The Kats will then finish up regional play at Broome Community College Saturday, February 15.