For the second time in as many weeks, the Solvay ice hockey team had a chance to prove its worth by knocking off Division II West leader Skaneateles.
Their first meeting, on Jan. 2 at Allyn Arena, had produced a 3-1 upset victory for the Bearcats, the kind of effort that can boost a team's confidence and make it believe that it can achieve greater things.
The problem, though, was that the Lakers also remembered how that game went -- and arrived at State Fair Coliseum last Wednesday bent on making sure that didn't happen again.
Right from the opening whistle, Sknaeateles dominated, attacking hard and converting often, not letting up until it had punished Solvay in a 7-1 decision.
Not too long after he got Channel 9's "Athlete of the Week" award, Solvay goaltender Joey Poppe found himself under siege.
Skaneateles provided the fire, scoring four times before the first period was over. Poppe would settle down in the second period and finish with 38 saves, but the Lakers kept on coming.
All this kept the Bearcats from establishing its own attack. In fact, it got shut out until Josh Ginestro scored off Zach O'Mara's feed in the third period. But Skaneateles goaltender Alex Richichi turned back each of the other 22 shots Solvay put up.
Tory Cole led the Skaneateles onslaught with two goals and three assists, while Kaj Beck-Andersen also scored twice and Keith Buehler got a goal and three assists.
Solvay got a chance to recover Saturday night, against Ontario Bay, and did so in fine fashion, beating the Storm 5-2 in the Coliseum.
A trio of first-period goals put the Bearcats in control early, and Poppe would protect that margin, returning to top form as he turned away 33 of the 35 shots he faced.