Dec 03, 2006 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
As usual, the West Genesee ice hockey team was a busy unit at the start of the season, squeezing three home games into five days, including its own tournament.
But the Wildcats won them all, each of those games decided by a single goal, perhaps setting the stage for a full revival once Division I play gets underway.
By far, the most satisfying moment came last Tuesday night, when the Wildcats knocked off two-time defending state Division II champion Clinton in a 3-2 decision at Shove Park.
Shut out by Fulton in its opener on Nov. 22, WG was inspired by the presence of the Warriors, even though goals by Chris Snyder and Rick Beaton gave the Warriors a 2-1 edge through one period.
For the rest of the game, Evan Mazzoni kept Clinton from scoring again, as he finished with 20 saves and gave WG a chance to rally.
By getting single goals in each of the last two periods, WG pulled it out. Scott Lewis, Tim Besio and Conor Thompson had the goals, with Nate Halliwell and Rob Sauda each earning a pair of assists. Steve Streiff and Brady Fremont also had assists.
This gave WG all sorts of momentum going into the annual Wildcat Classic, an event where visiting teams had enjoyed most of the spoils in recent years.
Not this time, though. WG set a dramatic tone in Friday night’s opening round, surviving a tough duel with Skaneateles to win, 1-0, in overtime.
Neither side would budge in regulation. The Wildcats piled up nearly twice the number of shots (34, to the Lakers’ 18), but Skaneateles goalie Alex Richichi was superb, recording 33 saves, many of them tough one.
Deep into overtime, it was still 0-0, but WG finally came out on top when Lewis, off great feeds from Besio and Streiff, poked a shot past Richichi for the game’s only goal.
Moving on to Saturday’s final, the Wildcats met Albany CBA, who beat Suffern in the other opening-round contest. Again, WG needed a late goal to pull out a narrow victory, this one a 4-3 decision.
Through two periods, the Wildcats and Brothers exchanged goals, keeping it even at 3-3, but when WG scored in the final period, CBA could not answer.
Continuing to rely on a balanced attack, the Wildcats had four different players — Streiff, Besio, Kevin Costello and Dan Stapleton — put in the four goals, while Lewis, Fremont and Thompson joined Streiff and Besio in the assist column. Getting a turn in the net, John Schlegel needed every one of his 21 saves.
Now the Wildcats would have to travel, visiting Cicero-North Syracuse on Wednesday and making a northern trip this weekend to play Ogdensburg and Massena.