Feb 06, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
So it finally happened – the West Genesee ice hockey team gave up a goal in Friday night’s game against Oswego at Shove Park. That was momentous enough, as the Wildcats hadn’t done so through three weeks, 19 periods of action and six-plus games.
What was more alarming was that the Wildcats almost gave up the game, its perfect regular season and its 18-game win streak to the Buccaneers before pulling out a 3-2 victory on Shawn Lynch’s third-period goal.
It was, amazingly, WG’s closest outcome since beating Fairport by that same 3-2 margin way back on Dec. 5 in the championship game of the Wildcat Hockey Classic.
That’s two full months of convincing wins, a trend that only became more imposing when, starting in the third period of the Wildcats’ first meeting with Oswego (a 5-2 win on Jan. 9), the Wildcats stopped giving up goals.
The shutout streak continued through the next six WG outings. Auburn, Baldwinsville, Cicero-North Syracuse, Liverpool, Ithaca, Fayetteville-Manlius – they all got blanked by a combined 29-0 margin.
Now Oswego came to Camillus to try its luck, and the first sign of its intentions was playing WG to a 0-0 draw in the first period, causing a small amount of unease among the loud and partisan home crowd.
Then it happened – a goal by the Bucs, put up in the second period. Then Oswego beat WG goaltender Anthony Militello again in the third period as Mike Brown and Fred Donabella got credit for those tallies.
Forced to respond, WG did so, mostly due to Erich Haney, who earned one goal and assisted on the other, by Zach Lewis. Then, with 7:16 left in regulation and the Wildcats on a power play, Haney fed the puck to Lynch, who beat Oswego goalie Matt Howard for the game-winner.
In the last game of that shutout streak, WG disposed of Fayetteville-Manlius 6-0 at Shove Park.
What helped keep the streak going was that the offense knew how to take control. WG bolted in front of F-M with a trio of first-period tallies and would get 41 shots against Hornets netminder Tyler Palmerton — who, a week earlier, scored a goal into an empty net against Cicero-North Syracuse.
Balance was the story on this night as six different players — Lewis, Casey Schattner, Ryan Michel, Nick Holzhauer, Seamus Shanley and Adam King — registered the six Wildcat goals.
Michel and Holzhauer kicked in two assists apiece, joining Haney and Lynch at that total. Schattner and Cody Ryan had single assists. And WG’s defense was so effective that it held F-M to a scant six shots.
Oswego ended the shutout streak – but could not keep the Wildcats from moving to 19-0, with just one regular-season game remaining, a Tuesday-night trip to Auburn.