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Hockey Wildcats blank Liverpool, go to 10-0

Nearing the holiday break, the West Genesee ice hockey team got some well-deserved rest. Anyone that goes 10-0 in the span of a month is entitled to some quiet time.

This small gap in the schedule got created when Ithaca, who was set to host the Wildcats last Saturday, accepted a tournament invitation and decided to postpone WG's visit until late January.

In the meantime, the Wildcats nursed whatever bruises came up in the season's opening stages, though few of them existed.

WG returned in triumph from its trip to the north country that culminated Dec. 13 with a 2-0 shutout of Massena, the team that beat them in last year's epic triple-overtime state Division I final at Utica Auditorium.

For a time in last Tuesday's game against Liverpool a Shove Park, there rose concern about a letdown from that Massena win -- until the Wildcats took control in the game's middle stages and beat the Warriors 4-0.

It was WG's sixth shutout of the season, and its second in a row. Much of that could be attributed to a defense that rarely even let Liverpool get shots on the net.

Whether it was Ryan Michel and Tim Bubnack, or Nate Haliwell and P.J. Hart at work, Liverpool's forwards kept running into fierce resistance as the fast, physical Wildcat defenders closed the door on any possible attacks.

This gave WG plenty of time to overcome a scoreless first period and get on the board. Just 2:03 into the second period, Zach Lewis converted on a rebound, giving the Wildcats a lead it would not relinquish.

Late in the period, Ryan McConnell pushed a wrist shot past Liverpool goalie Matt Miller (who finished with 36 saves) to make it 2-0, and Adam King converted with 36.9 seconds left in the period. Michel added a third-period goal for good measure as he, Hart, Erich Haney and Casey Schattner all earned assists.

WG would be off for a week before hosting Clinton on Tuesday, while LIverpool tackles unbeaten (7-0-1) Fayetteville-Manlius Thursday night at State Fair Coliseum.

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