Two local hockey players will represent Team Andreychuk, named for former NHL great Dave Andreychuk, in the first-ever Lightning Conference All-Star Game scheduled for Wednesday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Representing the Sarasota Rampage, the lone area high school hockey club, Bradenton senior forward Jesse Bafia and Lakewood Ranch senior forward Brendan Nicholson are scheduled to compete.
Bafia is tied for the team-lead in points (41) and has scored 25 goals in 13 games this season.
Nicholson also only played in 13 games this term, but produced 15 goals and 18 assists to earn a place on the 21-team roster for Wednesday's All-Star game.
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Gladiators open with win
The Bradenton Gladiators, who advanced to the Alliance Bowl last year, is once again off to a good start in the minor league Florida Football Alliance.
They earned a 41-18 victory two weeks ago, before receiving a bye this past week. The season-opening blowout came at the expense of the Tri-County Soldiers.
Former Manatee High running back Craig Carnes led the rushing game with 56 yards on eight carries that included one touchdown.
The main offensive firepower, though, came in the passing game as quarterbacks Nicholas
Kirby and Derelle Houser combined to toss four TDs to four different receivers.
Leading the charge was former Manatee standout Edgar Theliar, who snagged four catches for 138 yards and a score.
Meanwhile, the Gladiators defense produced four turnovers (two interceptions and two fumble recoveries) as well as a sack.
Former Sarasota Booker standout Darian Platt tallied a team-high eight tackles.
Bradenton's next game is against the Bay Area Tigers, an NFC Central Division foe, on Saturday.
Bradenton man logs top two finish at state cycling event
The Florida State Cyclocross Championships were held last month at the Little Everglades Park in Dade City, and one Manatee County resident snagged a medal for his division.
Bradenton's Travis Robert tallied 535.01 points en route to a silver medal finish in the Men's Category 4 Senior division.
He finished less than three points from Lithia's Alex Meucci for the gold medal.
In the area, only Venice's Chris Slack (silver, Men's SS Senior) and Sarasota's Katherine Adams (bronze, Women's Category 4 Senior) had medal-winning performances.
Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill