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.