At exactly the right time, the Skaneateles ice hockey team is finding a consistent winning form that might prove handy as it defends its Section III Division II championship.
With two wins last week, the Lakers passed Solvay and, by one point (26 to 25), earned second place in the final Division II West standings.
That means Skaneateles will be at home Friday night in the opening round of the Section III Division II playoffs, taking on Rome Free Academy, the third-place team in Division II East. The winner gets New Hartford or Cortland/Homer in next week's semifinals, with the championship game March 1 at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
When the Lakers met Ontario Bay last Wednesday night at Allyn Arena, it did most of the damage in the first two periods of a 6-3 victory over the Storm.
With a steady, productive attack, Skaneateles did not let up until it had a 5-2 advantage at the end of the second period, a safe margin that Ontario Bay could not overcome.
Packy Jones stepped up, the freshman earning a three-goal hat trick as Kyle Christine swooped in to score twice. Ryan Callahan also scored.
Drake Hill set up plays with his season-best three assists, with Zach Augustine gaining two assists. Jake Bird, Dan Tarolli, Patrick Emmer and Dylan VanHoltz each got one assist.
Two nights later, needing a win against Fulton to secure that home playoff game, the Lakers came through, rallying to beat the Red Raiders 7-3.
Fulton got all of its goals in the first period as Trevor Trevato, Chad Smith and Ryan Kesterke all scored, putting the Red Raiders in front 3-2.
From that point forward, though, the Lakers' defense tightened up and didn't allow anything more. Skaneateles took 47 shots to Fulton's 12, wearing down the Red Raiders' defense while going in front in the second period, then adding three more late tallies to get clear.
Sean Cooney, with two goals and one assist, led a balanced attack where Emmer, VanHoltz, Seth Weiss, Tom Jones and Packy Jones all took turns getting goals. Christine and Brendan Major joined Weiss and Emmer with one assist apiece.