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Hockey Lakers handle Hamilton, Westmoreland

No doubt, the Cazenovia ice hockey team started to pay a lot more attention following Rome Free Academy's five-goal, third-period blitz that gave the Lakers its first defeat of the season on Dec. 15.

So when it returned to action Friday night at Colgate University's Starr Rink, the Lakers took charge right away, and never let Hamilton catch up in a 7-4 victory over the Emerald Knights.

Almost from the moment the puck dropped, Cazenovia (3-1) came right after Hamilton, and didn't let up until it had a 3-0 lead in the first period. The domination continued in the second period, as the Lakers' margin grew to 6-1 before the Emerald Knights made some late offensive noise.

Joe Nardella, with a three-goal hat trick, set the pace, with Sam Lewis and Brian Gara each finishing with a goal and three assists. Jeff Stowell and Sean Cannizzaro also scored, with Connor Cannizzaro earning two assists and Zach Bonavita a single assist.

Hamilton (1-3-2), mostly, turned to Alex Brink, who scored twice and assisted on tallies by Derrick Rogers and James Smith. Joe Santoro had two assists as Nick Koen, Dylan May, Kinnon Nolan-Finkel and Blaine Holcomb earned single assists. Between them, Emerald Knights goaltenders Brendon Rusch and Brady Carroll had 40 saves, twice the number of Cazenovia netminder Joe Vecchiarelli.

Back at the Morrisville State IcePlex Tuesday night to face Westmoreland, the Lakers again were in an offensive mood -- and took it out on the Bulldogs in a 9-2 romp.

Westmoreland briefly hung around, only trailing 2-1 after one period. But Cazenovia's attack ramped up to the tune of five unanswered goals in the second period to erase all suspense about the outcome.

Sean Cannizzaro had a season-best four goals, plus an assist, as Nardella earned his second hat trick in as many games, scoring three times and adding two assists. Jeff Stowell and Zach Bonavita also scored, with Connor Cannizzaro gaining three assists. Lewis, Todd Christensen and Lucas Catania earned assists, too.

Cazenovia goes south on Monday and Tuesday to play in the Cortland/Homer Tournament, with the hosts having risen to the top of the Division II West standings by winning all five of its early-season league games.

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