Dec 11, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
When it was time to take to the ice for the start of the 2010-11 season, the Baldwinsville ice hockey team was eager to show that it was ready to make yet another Section III Division I championship push – and perhaps reach the top this time.
Under the guidance of long-time head coach Mark Lloyd, the Bees rolled to the title at its own Bobby Conklin Tournament at Greater B’aldwinsville Ice Arena in Lysander, outscoring its two opponents by a combined 11-3 margin.
It all started Friday night, when B’ville took on Central Square and proved shaky at the outset – but quickly took charge in the middle stages and moved on to beat the Red Hawks 5-2.
Central Square actually led 1-0 at the end of the first period, getting strong work in goal from Cory Gossiuax, who finished with 29 saves. But in the second period B’ville used a pair of goals to move out in front, then found more success in the final period to pull clear.
Parker Ferrigan, the Bees’ quick and exciting sophomore forward, led that push, scoring twice. Andrew Tiner and Brian Burlingame each picked up one goal and one assist, while Ronnie May landed the other goal. Ron Bertrand earned a pair of assists as Matt Colclough and Griffin Noffey picked up single assists.
In the other opening-round game, Clarence edged Solvay 2-1, so it was the Red Devils, from the Section VI Buffalo suburbs, meeting B’ville in Saturday’s championship game. It turned into a showcase for sophomore Matt Zandri and junior Justin Newman as B’ville breezed to a 6-1 victory.
Again, the start proved troublesome, as B’ville barely got any shots until it picked up a power play midway through the first period. On that man advantage, Kevin Cullen converted on a rebound goal as Zandri and Tiner earned assists. Late in the period, Ferrigan and Newman broke in, two-on-one, and though the puck got mishandled, Newman still pushed it home to make it 2-0.
B’ville maintained control by killing off several of its own penalties in the second period, goaltender Chris Johns making several important stops during those sequences. Then the Bees picked up a 5-on-3 situation, and Zandri scored on a shot from the point to expand the margin to 3-0 – but Zandri was just getting started.
Early in the third period, Shane O’Brien’s deft pass sent Zandri in alone on a breakaway, and he got his second goal. After Newman got his second tally off a pass from Ferrigan, Zandri saw his fluttering shot find the net with 3:48 left to complete the hat trick.
B’ville has reached the Section III Division I finals each of the last two years. Both times, it has lost to West Genesee, including a 4-0 decision in 2010 that helped push the Wildcats to an undefeated 25-0 mark and a state championship.
To get back to the finals, the Bees need to climb through an expanded Division I field. State-mandated realignment sent several Division II sides, including Hamilton, Solvay, Watertown IHC, Rome Free Academy, Utica Proctor, Cortland/Homer, Corcoran and Ontario Bay, up to Division I while Auburn and Oswego moved down to Division II.
B’ville now plays in Division I-A, and will face each of the 14 league opponents only once, which deprives the team of home-and-home showdowns with rivals like West Genesee and Liverpool.
Heavy snow kept the Bees from playing its league opener against Hamilton last Tuesday night. League play is set to begin this Tuesday against one of the newcomers, RFA, at Kennedy Arena before returning to Lysander Thursday to face Cortland/Homer.