JAMESTOWN – The Southern Tier Xpress fought for their playoff lives both literally and figuratively on Saturday night, overcoming a one-goal deficit against the Niagara Falls PowerHawks to win, 4-3.
The Express victory came on a night when the collective attention of the team was drawn to their fallen teammate, Christian Juliana, who was carted off of the ice late in the 3rd period with a possible neck injury.
Head Coach Lou Santini said Juliana has feeling in his limbs, but there are other concerns at this moment.
“He was complaining about back pain, and in the neck, and, apparently, I didn’t see it but they (team doctors) want to make sure he is okay,” Santini said.
Joey Gerace scored two goals, the first coming at the 17:46 mark to tie the game at 3-3, as well as the eventual game winner at the 18:34 mark off of an assist from Frankie Bodami.
The game was played at a very high level the entire night, but became extraordinarily physical in the 3rd period when Niagara Falls was called for 16 penalties.
The emotion and intensity of the game prompted several fights to break out.
Jamestown Police were dispatched to the arena immediately following the game, and according to a law enforcement source , Northwest Arena officials made the call because an impending threat made from one adult to another in the stands.
Police eventually made their way downstairs to the bowels of the arena, where some members of the Niagara Falls PowerHawks became hostile towards players and personnel from the Express.
The arena’s security team asked that we not film Niagara Falls getting onto their bus, a request that we did not honor because of the team’s exit being located on a public street.
Niagara Falls’s coaching staff declined comment for this story.
The victory brings the Southern Tier Xpress’ record to (20-22-0-0), or 40 points.
The team has five more games left to go in the season. Southern Tier will have just one home game, which will occur March 11th against Roc City.