Hockey Lakers sweep Cortland, CBA

In contrast to the bitter chill outside, the Skaneateles ice hockey team has stayed on fire for most of 2007.

And even a tough slate of back-to-back weekend could not slow down the Lakers, as it inched closer to second place in Division II West -- and a possible first-round playoff game.

This started last Friday, at Cortland/Homer, where the Lakers had to hang on throughout the game's late stages to beat the Purple Tigers 3-2.

Each team scored twice in the opening period, but Skaneateles inched in front in the second period and stayed there through rock-solid defense that limited Cortland/Homer to just 16 shots all night.

Erik Stevens, Patrick Emmer and Adam Severance all took turns scoring, with Keith Buehler setting up plays with his two assists. Cortland/Homer teammates Matt Porter and Paul Zimmerman each had one goal and one assist.

Back home at Allyn Arena less than 24 hours later, the Lakers completed a regular-season sweep of second-place CBA/J-D, shutting out the Brothers 3-0.

What helped Skaneateles was that CBA/J-D was playing without its top two scorers, as Peter Papayanakos sat out with a separated shoulder and Brian Karalunas missed action with a broken wrist.

Despite this, the Lakers started slowly, only perking up when it got a power play late in the first period. Just nine seconds into that man advantage, Emmer jammed home a rebound and Skaneateles led 1-0.

The Lakers really took charge in the second period, unleashing 19 shots on an overwhelmed CBA/J-D defense. Emmer and Buehler both scored in this binge, as Matt Wood earned two assists and Kaj Beck-Anderson also had an assist.

Alex Richichi faced a lot of shots in the third period, but preserved the shutout as he finished with 17 saves.

Monday's game at Watertown IHC was snowed out, and the Lakers hope to make it up before home tilts with Ontario Bay and Central Square round out the regular season. Skaneateles might need to win all of them to overtake CBA/J-D in the standings.

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