Dec 07, 2006 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In what turned out to be a brilliant maneuver, the Liverpool ice hockey team did not choose to play last Wednesday’s showdown with Baldwinsville in the familiar surroundings of State Fair Coliseum.
Instead, the Warriors and Bees went a few miles to the south — downtown, to the Syracuse War Memorial — and produced a memorable chapter in a memorable rivalry.
Matt Wilson’s scoring prowess carried Liverpool to a pair of two-goal leads, yet it blew both advantages and needed a well-time carom off a pipe to produce a 5-4 victory.
Both teams have enjoyed recent success — the Bees reaching the state Division I final in 2005, the Warriors laying claim to the Section III title last winter. This only added to the game’s fuel.
And it was the Division I opener, too, so whoever came out on top would have an early claim to the favorite role in the league race.
At the start, Liverpool played superb defense, blanking the Bees in the first period and giving the forwards some time to get used to the War Memorial ice the Syracuse Crunch call home.
Then, Matt Wilson took over. The high-scoring Liverpool junior already had 10 goals to his credit in four games, and he made it 11 with a first-period tally on the power play, the only time either team would score in that frame.
Wilson again converted on the power play early in the second period, making it 2-0, but all that seemed to do was awaken the Bees.
Barely 30 seconds after Wilson converted, B’ville’s Justin Tierney did so, slicing the margin to 2-1, and when Ryan Venditti fired a shot past Jim Zemotel with 3:17 left in the period, the two sides were tied again.
Not for long, though. A mere 1:04 after Venditti converted, Wilson fed Justin Rowley for a go-ahead goal. On yet another power play just before the period ended, Wilson made a full-ice charge and hit a perfect wrist shot past Eric Manley.
Wilson had his hat trick, and Liverpool had a 4-2 lead — but the roller coaster had not stopped yet.
Ben Blujus put B’ville within one as he scored a mere 16 seconds into the third period. Not long after that, Eric Parah directed a loose puck into the net, and the two sides were even again, 4-4.
Liverpool never lost its cool, though. It waged a series of attacks, and were at it again when, with two minutes left, Dan Cibelli and Josh LaRose went up against a pair of B’ville defenders.
LaRose shot it — right off the post, and right back to Cibelli, who gleefully put the rebound home with 1:56 left in regulation.
B’ville had to pull its goalie, but there would not be another comeback as the Warriors stayed on top. Cibelli, Rowley, LaRose and Stacy Kosecki all earned assists in this hard-fought win.
Now the Warriors rested a bit before meeting revived West Genesee on Tuesday night at Shove Park.