Hockey Lakers stunned by RFA rally

All was going just fine for the Cazenovia ice hockey team through two periods of last Tuesday night's key early-season showdown with Rome Free Academy at Kennedy Arena.

Then came the third period -- a 15-minute exhibition by the Black Knights that left the Lakers completely dazed and on the wrong end of a 6-3 defeat.

Cazenovia came into the game at 2-0, poised to become the main threat to defending state champion New Hartford in Division II East. It had easily turned back Utica Proctor and Fayetteville-Manlius, outscoring them by a combined 13-1.

Meanwhile, RFA had claimed its own 4-1 start and was perfect in two league games, its only loss an overtime decision to New Hartford in the Dunkin Donuts Classic Nov. 28 at Utica Auditorium.

On hostile ice, the Lakers got the only goal in the first period, then scored twice more to seize a 3-1 lead by the end of the second period.

Joe Nardella and Brian Gara each had one goal and one assist, with Connor Cannizzaro also scoring. Sean Cannizzaro earned an assist.

Everything turned around, though, when the third period started. RFA quickly pulled even, 3-3, then shot into the lead and didn't stop until it had registered five unanswered goals, negating Mason Powell's 18 saves.

Three Black Knights players -- Matt DeMatteo, T.J. Reilley and Nick Tardugno -- led the comeback, each of them landing two goals as Rob Waller and Garrett Reilley each had two assists.

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