Dec 15, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
While it could not, in any way, make up for the pain of what took place more than nine months ago, the West Genesee ice hockey team still did not mind a bit of healing.
The Wildcats’ 2-0 road victory at Massena last Saturday afternoon provided a small bit of payback for what had taken place during last March’s state Division I championship game at Utica Auditorium.
Back then, WG and Massena locked up for what is the longest state title game on record — three overtimes worth of drama until Mike Mailhot scored and the Red Raiders won, 3-2, leaving every hockey fan in Camillus heartbroken.
From the moment they left that ice after that epic, WG’s players have made it a mission to get back to Utica and finish the job. And one part of the process would be getting another shot at Massena.
At the heart of the effort was the Wildcats’ defense, who never let Massena get comfortable. Ryan Michel and the rest of WG’s back line locked down and deflected away passes and shots whenever possible, and goaltender Evan Mazzoni did his part, too, stopping all 17 shots he faced.
Twice, the Wildcats broke through on the offensive side. Erich Haney and D. J. Mazzoni got the goals and assisted on each other’s scoring plays, with Adam King also getting credit for an assist.
The Massena win, WG’s ninth in a row (and fifth shutout), came at the back end of a two-day trip to the north country that commenced Friday night with a 4-1 victory over Saranac Lake.
Bolting to a 3-0 lead through two periods, the Wildcats had Haney produce two goals and one assist, with D.J. Mazzoni and John Sabert getting the other goals. King picked up two assists as Zach Lewis and Brady Fremont joined Mazzoni in the assist column.
WG’s lone Division I game of the week turned into a wild affair at the Cicero Twin Rinks last Wednesday night, where the Wildcats’ fast start proved valuable in a 10-4 victory over Cicero-North Syracuse.
At least at the start, WG’s defense proved sound, allowing the Wildcats to go in front 2-0. CNS would achieve some breakthroughs thanks to star forward Aaron Hildreth, who earned a three-goal hat trick and added an assist, as Will Kaljeskie gained three assists.
For every move by the Northstars, though, the Wildcats had two in response, eventually piling up 46 shots and converting four times in each of the last two periods.
Haney proved to be unstoppable on this night, backing up his three goals with three assists for a season-best total of six points. King also had three assists, to go with a single tally.
D.J. Mazzoni led the next pack, scoring twice and adding a pair of assists, while Derek Mazzoni, Nate Halilwell, Lewis and Fremont joined King in the one-goal column. P.J. Hart had an assist, too.
Coming back home after the Massena win, WG faces Liverpool Tuesday night at Shove Park and will go on the road Saturday to face long-time Division I rival Ithaca.