In the span of a couple of games, the Cazenovia ice hockey team loudly stated its Division II playoff credentials to anyone who would listen.
The Lakers' home opener at the Morrisville State College IcePlex last Tuesday night turned into another bold statement as it handled the Whitesboro Warriors in a 6-2 decision.
To be sure, Whitesboro was struggling at 0-4-1, but it was still the type of team that had routinely beaten Cazenovia in recent years, preventing its ascent up the standings.
That might not be the case now. The Lakers roared out to a 3-0 lead before the first period was done, and kept up the pace in the game's middle stages to withstand Whitesboro's lone offensive spurt.
Brian Gara and Sean Dougherty set that pace. Gara produced a three-goal hat trick, adding an assist, while Dougherty scored twice and added a pair of assists.
Sam Lewis earned the other goal, with Seth Goldacker and Sean Cannizzaro each matching Dougherty with two assists apiece. Ben Lewis, Carter Franz and Zach Bonavita also got credit for assists.
A day later, Cazenovia visited Auburn, testing itself against a Division I opponent at Casey Rink -- and passing the test, beating the Maroons 7-4.
They were tied, 1-1, through one period, but the Lakers picked up the tempo in the second period by scoring three times. Auburn kept up for a while, but another big outburst in the third period helped Cazenovia pull clear.
Pulling off back-to-back hat tricks, Gara again scored three times, adding an assist. Often, those passes came from Cannizzaro, who piled up four assists to go with his single tally.
Franz pulled off two goals and one assist, while Dougherty also scored. Nardella had two assists as Lewis and Tom Colligan each picked up single assists.
Beginning on Friday, the Lakers take a longer road trip, this time going to the Albany area for a pair of games against Section II opponents Glens Falls and Queensbury.