Xpress Open Season Tonight At Lockport

The Southern Tier Xpress, led by second-year head coach Brian Ramm, will kick off the 2016-17 North American Tier III Hockey League season tonight on the road against the Lockport Express.

Forward Luke Grossman (Glenshaw, Pennsylvania) headlines the many returning players for Southern Tier. In his previous two seasons with the team, Grossman has accumulated 17 goals and 16 assists.

Several talented local players will also be playing for the Xpress again, including both Joseph Gerace (forward) and Jacob Zwieg (forward/defense) of Jamestown, Ryan Pascarella (goaltender) of Lakewood and Tommy Muecke (forward) of Bemus Point.

Other players returning from last season include Erie natives Nicholas Wilcox, Matthew Crosby and Eriq Schau; Bradley Delenko (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania); Hunter Kepple (Freeport, Pennsylvania); and Joshua Malin (Sherwood, Oregon).

“We felt like when we were rebuilding, we needed guys with character, guys with guts, guys with grit, guys that could grind,” Ramm stressed last week in the team preview. “Because it is a grind. They have to practice three (or) four days a week and then go into a weekend on the road or here (at the Northwest Arena), play two games back-to-back and you get beat up pretty good.”

He continued: “We looked for players who could handle that, who were mentally strong and were willing to battle and fight.”

Add in skilled new players like forward Cameron Trejchel (Erie, Pennsylvania), defenseman Calvin Tonzi (Bolton, Connecticut) and goalkeeper Harrison Vangellow (Rochester) and Southern Tier may very well be in the mix for a playoff spot this season.

“Those guys that are in the room now I think are (a certain way),” Ramm said. “They are hard workers, they are grinders. I think (if we play the way we are capable of playing) we are definitely a playoff team.”

The Xpress’ first home game of the season will take place at Northwest Arena on Friday, Sept. 16 against the West Michigan Wolves.

For more information on the Xpress, visit the team’s website at stxpresshockey.com.

Original article by Cody Crandall, Post-Journal.