Coming off its season-opening shutouts of New Hartford and Baldwinsville, the West Genesee ice hockey team hosted its annual Wildcat Classic, where it finally gave up some goals -- but still managed to claim a hard-fought first-place trophy.
First, the Wildcats engaged in a wild opening-round battle with Saratoga Springs Friday night, building a big early margin and needing to prevail by a score of 7-4.
WG was up, 1-0, when it erupted for four goals in the second period. But Saratoga broke the shutout streak during that period, then battered the Wildcats for three tallies in the final period.
Still, the margin was comfortable, as Zach Lewis, with two goals, and Ryan Michel, with a goal and three assists, led the way. Erich Haney, Tim Bubnack, Nick Holzhauer and Eric Kurz also scored, with Casey Schattner, Adam King, Josh Duquette and Cody Ryan earning assists.
In the other opening-round game, Fairport needed two overtimes to beat Suffern 5-4. Given that, the Wildcats had to figure that Saturday's final against the Red Raiders would be simple to handle.
That would not be the case. WG held on, 3-2, as Fairport got both of its goals in the second period to answer the tallies Haney, Kurz and Schattner put up. Michel, Holzhauer and John Saber earned assists.
Facing his most pressure to date, goalie Anthony Miltello preserved that slim one-goal margin in the third period and finished with 20 saves. WG finished with 48 shots, more than double Fairport's output, as Michel had an assist on his way to tournament MVP honors, with Haney and Lewis making the All-Tournament team.
Back on Friday, Solvay started its season with a 5-0 shutout of Utica Proctor in the opening round of the Bobby Conklin Tournament at Baldwinsville.
The combined Solvay unit, with players from Jordan-Elbridge, Marcellus and Westhill included, found that there could be life after departed senior Tim Burgess, breaking out of a game-long funk by getting all five of its goals in the third period.