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GRUTTADAURIA ROCKS THE RIDGE

The former Buffalo Jr. Sabre is now a freshman at Niagara University

Thursday, 10.25.2012 / 4:06 PM / Features
By Derek Wangler  - Digital Media Intern
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GRUTTADAURIA ROCKS THE RIDGE
Rocky Gruttadauria spent the last two seasons for the Buffalo Junior Sabres. But just as he was about to start his third, he got a call from Niagara University.
Rocky Gruttadauria (Photo: Niagara U.)

“That’s why you play Junior “A” hockey - to go to college. Especially at the Division I level. When I got that offer, it was like, obviously my hard work paid off and I couldn’t really pass that up.”

Those are the words of Niagara Purple Eagles freshman forward Rocky Gruttadauria, who spent the last two seasons for the Buffalo Junior Sabres. But just as he was about to start his third, he got a call from Niagara University.

“I wanted to play another year of junior, especially because I got to know all the guys and stuff. But I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like that,” Gruttadauria explains.

Gruttadauria grew up in Spencerport, NY, where he played hockey for Spencerport High School and the Rochester Red Wings organization. For his junior year he went on to play “AAA” hockey for Monroe County. After graduating he moved away from home and joined the Jr. Sabres.

Gruttadauria describes his experience: “It was pretty eye opening. I moved away from home, I learned how to live on my own and everything like that my first year. The hockey was a real big step for me too, I had to adjust.”

Playing for the Jr. Sabres helped Gruttadauria get an offer from Niagara University. “That league is a good stepping stone for college hockey. A lot of programs are getting a bunch of the top players from that league. Getting used to everything at the junior level definitely prepared me for this level.”

Gruttadauria admits he doesn’t believe he was one of the top players in the OJHL, but his hard work is what got him where he is today. “I play a hard-working style of hockey that people can look to to get fired up. I’ll get a big hit if we need it or fight if we need it.”

That type of team-first attitude is how Gruttadauria earned the respect of his teammates. Current Jr. Sabres assistant captain Ryan Schmelzer looked up to Rocky as a leader when they played together.

“Rocky was a great leader on and off the ice,” said Schmelzer. “He was very passionate and pushed us to do our best every practice and game.”

In his first game with Niagara, Gruttadauria was thrown into the starting lineup because of a few injuries. He made his opportunity count by scoring a goal in that game. He went on to receive AHA Rookie of the Week honors for the first week of October. “I just didn’t want to hold anything back for that game so I could be in the lineup for the next one,” said Gruttadauria.

His hard work has paid off. Gruttadauria has become a staple of the Purple Eagles lineup, collecting one goal and one assist while playing in all five of the team’s games. He’ll get a chance to add to those totals this weekend as Niagara travels to Clarkson, NY to face the Clarkson Golden Knights on Friday and Saturday. Both games start at 7 p.m., and can be heard live on WJJL 1440AM and PurpleEagles.com.


As for the current edition of the Jr. Sabres, they occupy top spot in the OJHL’s West Division with a record of 12-6-1. Forward Tyler Gjurich is third in the league in scoring with 26 points (11+15). The team continues to cash in with the man advantage, scoring 27 power play goals in just 19 games.

The Jr. Sabres play three games in three days this weekend, starting Friday when the St. Michaels Buzzers pay a visit to the Northtown Center at 7:30 p.m. They hit the road on Saturday to face the Toronto Junior Canadiens (7:30 p.m.), before returning home Sunday to host the Georgetown Raiders at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on upcoming Jr. Sabres games, check out their web site at www.buffalojrsabres.pointstreaksites.com

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82