Jan 03, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
To regain the top spot in Division I, the Liverpool ice hockey team knew that it had to subdue the leaders from Ithaca — and do so within the friendly surroundings of State Fair Coliseum.
Yet when the Warriors got that opportunity last Tuesday night, it could not exploit it, as a late push by the Little Red produced a 5-3 defeat.
Going in, Liverpool was well-rested after nearly two weeks without a game. Ithaca, by contrast, had won its own tournament to back up the 3-0 shutout of West Genesee on Dec. 19 that put them in the league lead.
The Warriors, with its fast-paced attack, were fixated on solving Ithaca’s tight defense and solving the Little Red’s top-flight goaltender, Andy Iles, who carried a .955 save percentage into the game.
That didn’t happen immediately. Much of the first period, in fact, was a defensive standoff, broken only when a Liverpool turnover turned into A.J. Fiore’s goal late in the frame that gave Ithaca a 1-0 lead.
Just 13 seconds into the second period, though, Liverpool solved Iles as Justin Rowley scored off perfect feeds from Matt Wilson and Josh LaRose.
Less than a minute later (54 seconds, to be precise), Rowley struck again, off a feed from Dan Cibelli, and the Warriors suddenly owned a 2-1 lead.
Now it was Ithaca’s turn to show some resolve, as Ben Lantz-Subtelny scored less than two minutes after Rowley’s flurry to make it even again, 2-2.
Back and forth it went. In another exciting exchange, Sam Meyer found the net to put Ithaca in front 3-2, only to have Kevin Sattler score off Joey Wilson’s feed just 28 seconds later to tie it again.
So it remained, 3-3, until the third period, and both defenses appeared to be settling down when, with 10:23 left, Ithaca’s Alex Yale-Loehr struck the decisive blow.
Taking the puck at center ice, Yale-Loehr charged up the middle, worked his way past a Liverpool defender, then zipped a shot past Matt Miller to break the tie.
Sean Seyler found the net less than four minutes later, chasing Miller from the game (Jim Zemotel replaced him) and giving the Little Red its fifth different goal-scorer of the night.
After that second-period flurry, Iles settled down, finishing with 26 saves and making the key stops down the stretch to keep his team in front. Miller, before he left, earned 22 saves.
As Ithaca improved to 4-0 in league play (11-3 overall) and tightened its grip on first place, Liverpool (6-3, 3-2 league) will look to recover Thursday at Auburn, a team that needed two goals in an eight-second span of the final minute of regulation to stun Baldwinsville, 3-2, last Tuesday at Lysander Arena.