Jan 02, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Mired with a 3-7 record, needing a kick-start before 2008 and the heart of its Division II schedule, the Solvay ice hockey team tried to find that spark during last week’s annual King of the Coliseum Tournament at State Fair Coliseum — and succeeded.
The Bearcats did not have much trouble in last Wednesday’s opening round, ripping the Westmoreland Bulldogs 8-3.
Playing well on the day after Christmas, Solvay overcame an early 1-0 deficit by scoring four times in the second period to go in front, then adding to it with four unanswered goals in the last period.
Neal Purcell enjoyed his best game of the season, scoring twice and adding four assists. Tim Burgess and Josh Schneider also had two-goal outings, with Burgess getting two assists and Schneider earning one assist.
Zach O’Mara and Nick Monobianco scored, too, as Len Graf, Mike Smith, Mike Sniffen and Ryan Chapman joining O’Mara in the assist column. Ryan Bonk played in goal, giving Joey Poppe a chance to rest, and stopped 30 of the 34 shots he faced.
In the other opening-round contest, Ontario Bay blew a third-period lead to Hamilton, but bounced back to beat the Emerald Knights 4-3 in overtime, setting up Thursday’s championship game between the Storm and the Bearcats.
They had already met in Division II West play Nov. 27 at Haldane Memorial Building, with Ontario Bay edging Solvay 6-5.
Here, the Bearcats would get some payback, taking the “King of the Coliseum” crown by beating the Storm 3-2 in overtime.
Each side scored twice in the second period, Purcell and Burgess getting Solvay’s goals. O’Mara got the winning tally in overtime, assisted by Burgess, justifying a superb effort in the net by Poppe, who recorded 38 saves.
Purcell, with his goal and two assists in the final, was tournament MVP, as Poppe, Burgess and O’Mara also gained All-Tournament status. Hamilton crushed Westmoreland 12-1 in the consolation game.
Finishing off an undefeated 3-0 week, the Bearcats on Saturday made up a snowed-out Dec. 4 game against Watertown IHC and routed the Cavaliers 8-2.
Less than a minute after IHC scored to go up 1-0, Purcell fed Ryan Chapman for an answering goal, and Schneider scored two minutes later to put Solvay ahead 2-1.
A trio of unanswered goals in the second period broke it open, as Burgess scored twice, with O’Mara converting in between and Nick Downs earning a pair of assists along the way. Burgess would finish his hat trick in the third period as Solvay scored three more times to make it a rout.
Burgess, in addition to this three goals, had two assists, as Purcell piled up five assists and Nick Downs stepped up to gain three assists. Chapman and Schneider each found the net twice, while O’Mara got the other tally and Josh Ginestro added an assist. Poppe stopped 36 of the 38 shots he faced.
So the Bearcats were 6-7 going into Monday’s game against Fulton in the Coliseum, the make-up of a Dec. 17 snow postponement. Solvay then meets Skaneateles on Wednesday night at Allyn Arena.
By beating the Red Raiders 5-0, Solvay reached the .500 mark, giving the team even more of a push going into Wednesday’s game against first-place Skaneateles at Allyn Arena.