Jan 09, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Just when it looked like the Liverpool ice hockey team was sliding down the Division I standings, it hit the brakes.
And it did so in a hostile setting — Oswego, to be exact. In SUNY-Oswego’s brand-new arena on Monday night, the Warriors broke a two-game skid with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Buccaneers.
This was the first Liverpool-Oswego meeting since last year’s Section III Division I final, won by the Warriors at Clinton Arena.
Entering the game, the Warriors were 3-3 in league play, in fifth place, while the Bucs had a 3-0-1 league mark and were second behind Ithaca.
All through the game’s early stages, Liverpool and Oswego exchanged goals — Matt Wilson and Josh LaRose scoring for the Warriors, Eric Zerrahn putting in both of the Bucs’ tallies.
Joey Wilson would find the net midway through the second period to put Liverpool in front, and it would spend the rest of the game clinging to that one-goal margin.
Oswego’s attack picked up, especially in the third period. But in his most spectacular effort of the season, Matt Miller stopped all 16 shots he faced, giving him 33 saves for the night and pushing the Warriors back above .500 in league play.
All this trouble began six days earlier, when the Warriors attempted to subdue Ithaca within the friendly surroundings of State Fair Coliseum. But 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, and was 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.
Liverpool looked to bounce back Thursday night at Auburn, where the Maroons were sky-high after scoring twice in an eight-second span of the final minute of regulation to beat Baldwinsville 3-2 Tuesday at Lysander Arena.
As it turned out, the aftertaste of the Ithaca defeat lingered, as the Maroons sustained its momentum by ripping the Warriors 5-1.
Everything started just fine, as Matt Wilson scored off a feed from Rowley in the first period. But that 1-0 lead vanished when Auburn got three goals in the second period, then pulled further away in the late going.
No one on the Warriors’ defense could contain Matt Chadderdon, who led Auburn’s rally with a three-goal hat trick, and he added an assist. Reggie Townsend and Brian Anderson also scored.
So this made a win at Oswego a must. With that attained, the Warriors will be back home Thursday night to face Cicero-North Syracuse.