All week long, Orchard Park coach Josh Dannecker preached about the importance of this weekend for the team.
It’s clear Zachary Mecca took that message to heart.
The senior put together a weekend to remember with back-to-back hat tricks on Friday and Saturday.
Mecca’s performances not only snapped a six-game losing streak for the Quakers but put them right in the thick of things in the large school playoffs.
Orchard Park had a lot of offense but failed to convert their chances. Luckily, Mecca netted the only three goals, the last coming with 42 seconds left in the game to break the tie and beat Frontier.
“He’s such a great kid and leader,” Dannecker said of Mecca. “[Friday] night against Frontier nobody was able to hit the net but he put the team on his back and then comes out here and backs it up with another three goals. That’s the difference.”
Saturday, the Quakers put their chances in the net having a six-goal explosion in the second period to earn an 8-4 victory over Niagara Wheatfield.
“My team has been rolling right now,” said Mecca, who has 16 points this season. “I’ve got to give the credit to them. They’ve been finding me with the puck. It’s a total team effort.”
The two OP wins combined with a win by Lancaster and a loss by Williamsville North on Friday means that the large school playoffs are up for grabs as we approach the final month of the regular season.
The Quakers, along with NW and Lancaster are all tied for first place with 10 points. Will North and Clarence are right behind them with 9 points on the season.
“I think for us it’s trying to build off the last game,” Dannecker said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us. But the fact that we have taken it to Niagara Wheatfield, we need to build off that. The message is to do the little things like getting to the net and getting rebounds.” Hockey
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