For much of this season, the Cazenovia ice hockey team lived off its high-powered attack, going 14-4-2 without suffering a single shutout and putting up five or more goals 12 different times.
That didn't happen against Cortland/Homer in Friday night's Section III Division II quarterfinal at the Morrisville State IcePlex -- but a suffocating defense more than atoned for it, leading to a 3-1 victory over the Golden Eagles.
With the win, Cazenovia advanced to the Division II semifinals against Skaneateles, with the winner to get New Hartford or Rome Free Academy in Sunday's championship game at Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Cazenovia and Cortland/Homer had not met during the regular season. That unfamiliarity, combined with some inevitable post-season nerves, led to a defensive standoff for much of the game's early stages.
The Lakers did score in the first period -- and that was it for a while, a 1-0 game that remained so mainly because Cazenovia never let the Golden Eagles get too many chances.
Playing some of its best defense of the season, the Lakers' back line held Cortland/Homer to a grand total of nine shots, making the life of goaltender Mason Powell a lot less stressful.
Still, Cazenovia could not get away until scoring twice in the third period to overcome the Golden Eagles' lone tally from Carl Zimmerman.
Sean Cannizzaro led the way, earning two goals (his 18th and 19th of the season) as John Greacen also converted. Brian Gara and Sam Lewis each had one assist, as did Joe Nardella.
As with Cortland/Homer, Cazenovia did not have a regular-season encounter with its namesakes from Skaneateles, and are trying to get past the round it could not quite pull off a season ago, when it lost to Corcoran in overtime.