All that makes the West Genesee ice hockey team a special unit was on display as it earned its second consecutive Section III Division I championship.
Between timely offense, an efficient and effective power play, and defense that never lets up from start to finish, the Wildcats used all of its considerable tools to hold off Baldwinsville 3-2 Sunday at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
That score was the exact same margin by which WG beat Ithaca for the sectional title in 2008, and junior defenseman Ryan Michel said the team's experience helped a lot here.
"We have great senior leadership, and we didn't want to lose," he said.
A full week of intense practice and preparation followed the Wildcats' 7-0 rout of Liverpool in the semifinals at Shove Park on Feb. 20.
Head coach Frank Colabufo and his staff knew that, despite two regular-season wins over B'ville (5-1 in December at Lysander, 2-0 in January at Shove Park), the Bees would not be an easy opponent to subdue a third time.
And it didn't get easier when, 4:12 into the game, Adam Mohr, off a pass from Chris Newman, fluttered a shot from the left point past WG goaltender Evan Mazzoni into the net, giving the Bees a quick 1-0 lead.
Through the rest of the period, the Wildcats could not answer, despite out-shooting B'ville 12-4. But Colabufo said his team did not panic.
"We were carrying the play and doing the things we wanted," he said. "We just had to stick to our game plan."
That plan involved the "blue-collar" approach WG is known for, which means continuing to attack and staying patient, waiting for the right moment to take control.
Early in the second period, that moment arrived, thanks to the work of brothers Eric and D.J. Mazzoni.