Barely a week into the season, the Cazenovia ice hockey team has already climbed to the top spot in the Division II rankings.
A key to that success was Tuesday night's visit to Clinton Arena, where the Lakers did lots of early damage and produced a 4-1 victory over the Warriors.
Under a new head coach in John Hughes, Clinton, trying to restore some of its former majesty (it won back-to-back state Division II titles in 2005-06), had started 2-0 and were on its historic home ice, looking for a breakthrough.
Cazenovia did not get cowed, though, fighting its way to a 2-1 lead through one period, then adding two more goals in the second period to pull away.
Joe Nardella, with three assists, and Sean Cannizzaro, with two assists, anchored the attack. Connor Cannizzaro earned two goals as Brian Gara added one goal and one assist. Sam Lewis also score as Kyle Murray contributed an assist.
And the Lakers didn't stop there, venturing north to Crisfaulli Rink (also known as "The Fort") and watching Brian Gara take charge against league newcomer Oswego in a 6-2 romp of the Buccaneers.
Again, Cazenovia staked itself to a 2-1 first-period edge and, again, made its big move in the second period, skating its way to a 5-2 lead to all but put the game away.
Whatever took place, Gara was in the middle of it, carrying the Lakers as he found the net four times and assisted on Cazenovia's other two goals - both by Nardella. Sean Cannizzaro finished with a pair of assists as Nardella also got an assist.
Hamilton, in its Division I opener against Utica Proctor, got a career effort from senior Alex Foster - and needed it to beat the Raiders 8-6 at Utica Memorial Auditorium.
The Emerald Knights established its two-goal margin, 4-2, in a wild first period. For the rest of the game, every time Proctor would get on the board, Hamilton would answer, and usually with Foster putting a shot in the net.