Police Called After Fights Break Out At Hockey Game

Andrew Logar of the Niagara Falls PowerHawks uses his stick to gesture to fans at Northwest Arena during a game Saturday night against the Southern Tier Express. Jamestown police were called to the arena after fights were reported. Defenseman Christian Juliana was carried off on a stretcher after he was hit in the game. His status was not known late Saturday. P-J photo by Chad Ecklof

Jamestown police were called to Northwest Arena on Saturday night after several fights reportedly broke out in the stands of a game between the Southern Tier Xpress and visiting Niagara Falls PowerHawks of the North American Tier III Hockey League.

No arrests were made, though several players from Niagara Falls — including some on the coaching staff — were thrown out of the game for fighting and engaging fans.

The incident reportedly began shortly after the father of an Xpress player got into an argument with a Niagara Falls fan. Arena security was called after beer was thrown in the argument, one witness said.

Things then began to unravel late in the game after Xpress defenseman Christian Juliana sustained an apparent serious injury in a hit by Matthew Minichello of the PowerHawks. Minichello was handed a five minute penalty for making head contact and a game misconduct.

Juliana was taken off the ice on a stretcher and transported to UPMC Chautauqua WCA hospital. In a Facebook post, the team said he suffered a concussion and was going to “take it easy” as he goes through the concussion protocols.

A referee and member of the PowerHawks coaching staff point fingers during Saturday night’s game at Northwest Arena. The Xpress defeated Niagara Falls 4-3. P-J photo by Chad Ecklof

Shortly after the hit to Juliana, Xpress coach Lou Santini got into a heated exchange with the PowerHawks coaching staff. Several players from Niagara Falls also began arguing with fans.

At one point, a Niagara Falls coach reportedly threw the team’s sticks and water bottles onto the ice, a witness who attended the game said afterward.

It was then that security and Jamestown police entered the stands in an attempt to quell fighting.

Several fans reportedly were removed from the arena. According to the box score on the team’s website, the PowerHawks bench received three game misconducts for interfering with spectators. Three PowerHawks players — Frankie Bodami, Andrew Logar and Gage Mueller — also received game misconducts for interacting with fans.

Xpress general manager Travis Sanders said he’s proud how the team reacted to the situation.

“This is not the norm here,” Sanders told The Post-Journal. “There were a couple of rival fans and it was a tight game. Then there was that hit (to Juliana) that was high. Sometimes it happens. I’m very proud of the way the boys conducted themselves through the drama.”

Sanders said he and several members of the Xpress were going to visit Juliana and his parents at WCA. He said his main concern was Juliana and noted that he doesn’t want Saturday night’s events to overshadow the hard work the team has done.

The Xpress beat the PowerHawks 4-3.