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WG hockey goes 2-0-1, topples F-M

To this point, the West Genesee ice hockey team is still undefeated in Division I play, though it did fall behind Oswego in the league standings.

The main cause of this drop to second place was last Tuesday's game with reigning state champion Ithaca at Shove Park, where the Wildcats and Little Red battled to a 0-0 stalemate.

Ithaca no longer has goaltender Andy Iles on its roster -- but his successor, Zach Wilder, did everything within his power to put a hamper on WG's plans.

Owning a majority of the scoring chances in this game, the Wildcats put all kinds of pressure on Wilder -- but through 45 minutes of regulation play, plus an overtime period, Wilder held firm, stopping all 33 shots he faced.

Not that the Wildcats were defensive slouches, either. Big and physical, WG's back line kept Ithaca from landing too many chances, and John Schlegel handled the rest as the Wildcat goaltender finished with 23 saves.

Still at home Friday night, WG met Fayetteville-Manlius, who roared to a 7-0 start before taking back-to-back league losses to Oswego and Liverpool.

This turned into another tense, low-scoring battle -- but at least somebody scored, and the Wildcats held off the Hornets 2-1.

Breaking its drought, the Wildcats went ahead 1-0 in the first period on Tim Besio's goal, fed by Erich Haney. It would remain that way until the opening seconds of the third period, when Haney pounced on a rebound of a Besio shot and flung it past Mike Poppleton.

Keeping his team in it, Poppleton made 19 saves, and Nick Zappia scored to get F-M on the board. However, Schlegel got terrific protection from his fellow defenders and made 16 saves to keep his team in front.

A day later, in a non-league game against Hamilton, the Wildcats got a chance to show off its offense again in a 6-0 shutout of the Emerald Knights.

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