Thanks to one big spurt, the Skaneateles ice hockey team continued its quest for the Section III Division II championship.
The Lakers hosted New Hartford in last Friday's opening round of the Division II playoffs at Allyn Arena and got a solid test from the Spartans before taking over in the middle stages and earning a 3-1 victory.
Through a scoreless first period, neither side was able to break through. New Hartford, in particular, found itself frustrated as Skaneateles goaltender Alex Richichi made a series of big stops to keep it 0-0.
When the second period got underway, Keith Buehler took charge.
All Buehler did in that frame was twice put shots past Spartan goaltender Dylan Smith, then assist on the Lakers' other goal by Tory Cole. In addition, Cole and Matt Wood were both credited with assists.
Staked to that 3-0 edge, the Lakers' defense could not preserve the shutout, as Tom Fiorentino scored for the Spartans in the third period. But Richichi still stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced, which was enough.
Skaneateles will be home again Wednesday night for a much-anticipated Division II semifinal against three-time defending champion Clinton at 7:30.
The Warriors beat Solvay 8-4 in its opening-round game last Friday and are far better than the squad Skaneateles beat way back on Nov. 30. The winner here gets Whitesboro or Corcoran in Saturday's Division II final at Utica Auditorium, annual site of the state championships.