Dec 17, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Few Section III ice hockey programs have won as much as the Corcoran Cougars the last two seasons.
Corcoran made it all the way to the sectional Division II finals in 2009, losing to eventual state champion New Hartford at the Syracuse War Memorial. Then it went 15-4-1 a season ago, taking second place in Division II West before a first-round playoff defeat to Rome Free Academy.
Then, in the off-season, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association called for a realignment of the two divisions.
As a result, Corcoran joined a mass exodus of teams that moved up to Division I, ready to take on the likes of long-established programs like West Genesee and Baldwinsville.
Needless to say, the Cougars were ready. Through three games this winter (and despite losing a handful of practices to the record snowfall), Corcoran is perfect – and quite potent, too, with 18 goals scored in those games.
The season began Dec. 7, at State Fair Coliseum, as the Cougars met Liverpool and used steady production to beat the Warriors 6-3.
Ahead 2-0 after one period, Corcoran saw Liverpool erupt for all three of its goals in the second frame, yet stayed out in front 4-3 before making a late surge to put things away.
Derek Eccles, with a three-goal hat trick, got off to a particularly hot start as Andrew Jackson and Steve Young also converted. Erik Kurz joined Jackson with two assists apiece as Young, Connor Lyons and Dillon Brown got single assists.
Two nights later, in the home opener at Meachem Rink, Corcoran got sweet revenge on RFA for last year’s playoff loss, taking a 5-3 victory over the Black Knights.
Again, the Cougars zipped out to a 2-0 first-period lead, and again it struggled in the second period as the Black Knights got on the board.
Corcoran kept up, though, and never trailed as Cree Cathers found the net twice. Jackson, Brown and Eccles landed the other goals (Brown and Eccles also earned assists) as Pat Sandford made two assists. Gavin Gretzky took his turn in the net and had 24 saves, four more than RFA counterpart Anthony D’Urso.
Following a week to rest, practice and wait out more snow, Corcoran returned to action Thursday night at Meachem and dominated Fayetteville-Manilus in a 7-1 romp.
Four second-period goals broke the game open, as the Cougars got near-perfect offensive balance. Seven different players – Eccles, Cathers, Brown, Kurz, Young, Lyons and Mike Downs – got the seven goals, with Jackson, Matt Pitre and Evan Evans joining a crowded assist column.
Corcoran entered this week in first place in Division I, ahead of West Genesee, the reigning state champions, whom they face Jan. 21 at Shove Park in Camillus. Prior to that, though, the Cougars meet Cortland-Homer and Baldwinsville this week, trying to strengthen its newly-found place at the top of the Division heap.