What it still comes down to is that, until some other Section III Division I team can prove otherwise, the West Genesee ice hockey team is the secure favorites to win it all again.
The Wildcats were given a serious challenge in last Friday's game against Baldwinsville at Shove Park, but still managed to shut down the Bees in a 2-0 decision.
When they had first met Dec. 2 at Lysander Arena, WG had won with relative ease, 5-1, but it was clear B'ville, with an 11-3-1 record, had improved in the ensuing six weeks, moving itself to second place (5-1) in Division I.
Yet another overflow crowd came to Camillus, with loud student sections from both schools adding to the intensity level that was evident on the ice from the moment the puck dropped.
Each side hit hard in the first period, punishing any forward that dare skated into the defensive zone. B'ville had some sustained attacks to match what WG tried, but they went to the second period still 0-0.
Midway through the second period, it was still scoreless when the Wildcats went on the power play. Again, WG made a push -- and it paid off when Casey Schattner stuck a rebound past B'ville goalie Nick Leader. Zach Lewis got the assist.
On the other end, despite the solid defensive work of Ryan Michel and Tim Bubnack, Evan Mazzoni faced as much pressure as he had all season -- and the WG goalie deftly handled it, finishing with 21 saves.
Still, the game hung in the air until, with 8:28 to play, Adam King pushed home a rebound for the Wildcats' insurance goal. Bubnack and Nick Holzhauer earned the assist.
WG is still at home Tuesday to face Cicero-North Syracuse before back-to-back weekend trips to Liverpool and Ithaca.