As many of its foes still tried to figure out what it had in place, the Skaneateles boys ice hockey team had a real chance to establish itself as the favorites in the Division II West regular-season race.
Step one of that process involved beating Solvay last Wednesday night in the home opener at Allyn Arena -- which the Lakers did by pulling away in the third period to beat the Bearcats by a score of 7-3.
Solvay (actually a combination of Solvay, Westhill, Jordan-Elbridge and Marcellus athletes) hung in for a long time behind the work of Carmen Brienza (two goals) and Mark Syron (one goal, two assists), only trailing 4-3 after two periods.
But the Lakers' depth wore Solvay down, and Packy Jones had a big night, putting together a three-goal hat trick and adding two assists.
Jones had help, too, as Mike Benson, Jake Bird, Zach Augustine and Jon Rogalia also put in goals. Sean Cooney, Scott Longtin, John Bronk, Dylan VanHoltz and Dan Tarolli got credit for assists. Trevor Diamond stopped 18 of the 21 shots he faced.
Two nights later, the Lakers traveled to Onondaga Nation Arena to meet CBA/J-D -- and while the offense struggled a bit more, the defense was close to perfect in a 3-0 shutout of the Brothers.
Skaneateles set the tone by scoring twice in the first period. The Lakers could not sustain that pace in the face of CBA/J-D's defensive adjustments, but it hardly mattered.
The goals by Jones, Cooney and VanHoltz held up because Skaneateles locked down on defense, its back lines proving so effective that the Brothers managed just nine shots -- all of them stooped by Diamond.
Having won three in a row, the Lakers (4-1) returned home Tuesday to face Corcoran, the defending Division II West regular-season champs, before a Thursday trip to Fulton.