Remember that Baldwinsville ice hockey team that stumbled through a pair of defeats early in December (including one in its own tournament) and looked like nothing close to a contender?
That group has grown up, a lot, in a matter of weeks, and has put together five consecutive wins, four of them shutouts.
None of those wins were more impressive than Monday night's 6-0 conquest of Ithaca in the first game of a two-day tournament at the Little Red's home rink.
By means of comparison, Ithaca only lost 4-0 to state no. 1-ranked West Genesee on Dec. 22 at Shove Park, so the Bees' effort, done on the road against the same foe, proved more impressive.
It all started, again, with B'ville's defense. With Connor Bertrand and Brett Earle leading the back-line patrols, the Bees snuffed out most of Ithaca's chances, and did a great job of protecting goalie Mark Miller, who only had to make 15 saves.
Meanwhile, Bertrand led a suddenly potent B'ville attack that settled matters early, getting all six of its goals in the first two periods as part of a 28-shot effort.
All told, Bertrand had two goals and two assists, while Dan Briggs and Parker Ferrigan did the rest of the goal-scoring damage, each of them finding the net twice to match Bertrand. Mike McElwain had two assists, with Earle, Kevin Cullen, Sam Lane, Andrew Tiner and Ryan Scott earning single assists.
his superb effort helped ease, a bit, the pain of the next day, when B'ville faced Rochester McQuaid and took a 4-3 loss to the Knights despite a furious late rally.
McQuaid used three unanswered goals in the opening period to take that charge, and that 3-0 margin held for a long while.
However, the Bees staged a third-period comeback, pushed there by John Waldon, who earned two goals, and Bertrand, who also found the net. Brad Burlingame joined Land and Ferrigan in the assist column.
Despite this, the Knights still got a goal and hung on, overcoming a solid effort in the net by Miller, who had 26 saves.