WG hockey tops B'ville, blanks tournament foes

Having blitzed through three overmatched opponents in the last week of November, the West Genesee ice hockey team turned to more serious competition as the calendar turned to December -- yet kept on rolling, allowing just one goal in three outings.

First, the Wildcats clashed with Baldwinsville in the Division I opener last Tuesday at Lysander Arena, a physical battle not settled until the third period, when WG got away and won by a safe 5-1 margin.

In each of the first two periods, the Wildcats saw many scoring opportunities thwarted by tough Bees defenders, and watched goaltender Nick Leader work his way to 20 saves.

However, led by Erich Haney (two goals, one assist) and Ryan Michel (one goal, two assists), WG scored three times in a span of four minutes to double its 2-0 margin.

Ryan McConnell and D.J. Mazzoni also scored, with Adam King getting two assists. Eric Mazzoni and Tim Bubnack each got one assist. B'ville's Jeff Abbott scored in the third period to break up the shutout.

Back home at Shove Park, WG staged its own Wildcat Classic over the weekend, and would not let either of its opponents put a shot in the net.

It started on Friday night, when the Wildcats faced undefeated Saratoga Springs from the Section II ranks and toyed with them in the course of a 5-0 shutout.

Just as it had done all season, WG used steady pressure to produce a 4-0 margin by the end of the second period, keeping the puck in Saratoga's end and limiting the visitors to just 11 shots.

D.J. Mazzoni went to the front with two goals and one assist. Haney and Michel each got one goal and one assist, with King also scoring. R.J. Tinklepaugh got an assist, too.

Moving on to Saturday's championship game against Suffern, WG did not let up at all, converting early and late to earn a 4-0 victory and its fourth shutout in six outings.

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