By Bill Potrecz (BPSN)
The youngest member of the Fort Erie Meteors is also one of the most dangerous.
Joseph Macchione doesn’t turn 17 until December but the shifty winger has been playing like a veteran this year.
The Streetsville native scored at almost a point-per-game pace during the regular season and has kept up that output in the playoffs.
Macchione collected a pair of assists Wednesday — including one on a rush worthy of a highlight reel — as the Meteors blanked the Hamilton Kilty B’s 2-0 at the Leisureplex to even their Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, Golden Horseshoe Conference best-of-seven semifinal playoff series 1-1.
“I just try and do my job all the time and get my role done,” Macchione said outside a noisy Fort Erie dressing room. “It’s great getting the chance to contribute, especially in a dire moment like that in a playoff game.
“It was a lot of fun. I just wanted to get the job done with the boys and move on to the next game.”
Macchione’s first assist set up a goal by Luke Gualtieri at the 14:01 mark of the third period and broke a 0-0 deadlock.
Macchione said overtime wasn’t even in his thoughts.
“Honestly, I thought we were going to get the job done from the moment the puck was dropped, and even before that in warmups,” he said. “The boys came out ready and we battled well and worked hard.”
Maccione and Jayden Baldinelli then combined to set up Michael Angrilli at the 15:42 mark for an insurance marker.
“When the fans come out like that to support us we’re definitely amped behind the bench to get out there and win,” Baldinelli said. “We knew we were going to go to battle tonight and we showed up and got it done.”
Fort Erie coach Nik Passero, who endured his share of losing during his playing days with the Mets, was thrilled with the effort and outcome.
“It’s special,” Passero said.
Passero also cited the play of veterans Duncan Nicols-Delay, Josh DiFrancesco, Brendan Krawczyk, Marcus Regina, Thomas Gualtieri and Tyler DeCoff.
“To get the performances we got from the older players tonight was special,” he said.
The Meteors managed to put behind them a gut-wrenching 4-3 loss in Game 1 that saw the Kilty B’s rally from a 3-0 deficit.
“I’m so happy for this group. They worked they butts off,” Passero said. “They were really upset about Monday and what they came out to do today is amazing and we’re not done.
“I think we’re for real and we put the show out tonight.”
The Meteors are one goal away from being up 2-0 versus the best team in the GOJHL.
“I just told the guys they scored four goals in six minutes. Other than that, we’ve kept them shut,” Passero said. “We’re special defensively. We’re a unit that does it all together and when you watch us, that’s all you can see.”
Fort Erie rookie Joseph Macchione with two assists.
Meteors 2 Kilty B’s 0
Fort Erie Meteors: Michael Angrilli (3); Luke Gualtieri (2).
Hamilton Kilty B’s: No scoring.
Game stats: Shots on goal: By Fort Erie on Braedyn McIntosh (30), by Hamilton on Duncan Nichols-Delay (28); Power plays: Fort Erie 0-4, Hamilton 0-2; Penalty minutes: Fort Erie 6, Hamilton 10.
Up next: Game 3 Thursday at Hamilton at 7 p.m. Game 4 in Fort Erie Saturday at 7:15 p.m.
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