Dec 30, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
No, it doesn’t equate to winning a sectional or state championship – but the Cazenovia ice hockey team still reached a huge milestone in the waning days of 2010.
When the first state Division II rankings were released, it was the Lakers on top for the first time in the program’s history, its 5-0 start enough to impress the voters.
As always, a top ranking also means a bigger target for opponents to shoot at – but when the Lakers went to the Cortland/Homer Tournament during the holiday break, no one would come close to catching them.
In Tuesday’s opening round, the Lakers faced Frontier, a Section VI school from the southern suburbs of Buffalo, and unleashed its best offensive effort of the season in a 10-3 romp over the Falcons.
Already ahead 2-0, Cazenovia dazzled the crowd in the second period by finding the net five times, a barrage that Frontier could not possibly answer.
Brian Gara and Sam Lewis both had career outings, as Gara piled up five goals and three assists and, somehow, Lewis got the other five goals, a personal beset. As the help, Connor Cannizzaro earned three assists, with Joe Nardella adding two assists. Joe Colligan, Cullen Franz and Cameron Brathan had one assist apiece.
This sent the Lakers into Wednesday’s championship game against Cortland-Homer, the hosts having survived Utica Proctor 1-0 in the other part of the opening round.
Knowing how hard the Golden Eagles had to work just to reach the finals, Cazenovia pushed the tempo from the opening face-off – resulting in a big early lead and, ultimately, a 6-2 victory and the first-place trophy.
Just as with Frontier, the Lakers bounced out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. And just like the day before, the Lakers made the second period decisive, this time outscoring Cortland-Homer 3-1 to secure its ultimate winning margin.
More than in other games, Cazenovia proved balanced in its attack. Five different players scored, led by Lewis, who had two goals and one assist, as Nardella, Gara, David Marshall, Brian Demo and Zach Daniels also took turns converting.
Sean Cannizzaro had two assists as Alan Baldwin and Connor Cannizzaro joined Marshall and Nardella with single assists. Overall, Cazenovia took 42 shots to Cortland/Homer’s 10.
As for Hamilton, it closed out its 2010 portion of the schedule Wednesday with an impressive 3-0 shutout of Fayetteville-Manlius at the Morrisville State IcePlex.
All the goals came in the second period as Alex Brink found the net twice and Kinnon Nolan-Finkel also converted. Rob Keever, Alex Foster, Dan Buehler and Marc Donahue earned assists. Hamilton’s defense did the rest as Brady Carroll stopped all 15 shots he faced.
Hamilton (4-2, 2-1 Division I) is home this week for back-to-back games against Watertown IHC and Clinton before going to Shove Park Friday to face defending state Division I champion West Genesee.
Meanwhile, Cazenovia would aim for seven wins in a row Tuesday, at Auburn, before returning to the IcePlex to face Fulton on Thursday, then playing in Cicero-North Syracuse’s tournament at the Twin Rinks on the weekend.