It's been a February full of important ice hockey events in Skaneateles -- so the boys ice hockey Lakers had to do its part to make things more enjoyable for the locals.
A week after the girls state "Frozen Four" got played at Allyn Arena, the boys Lakers took its first bow in the Section III Division II playoffs and put together a 5-3 victory over Clinton in the opening round.
Trying to reclaim the form that won state titles in 2005 and '06 (and a third straight sectional crown in 2007), Clinton had gone 12-7 in the regular season, only reaching fourth place in Division II East.
Meanwhile, Skaneateles, fresh off its fast finish that produced a Division II West regular-season championship, were set to pursue its second sectional title in three years.
A high-scoring first period saw Clinton find the net twice -- but the Lakers answer with three goals, taking a lead it would not relinquish.
Things quieted down in the second period, and the Skaneateles defense kept the Warriors off the board as the margin inched up to 4-2. Though they exchanged goals in the final period, the Lakers would stay in front.
Sean Cooney and Packy Jones each had three points, as Cooney got two goals and one assist and Jones earned a goal and two assists. Jon Rogalia and John Bronk also scored, with Brendan Major, Dan Tarolli, Dylan VanHoltz, Jake Bird and Zach Augustine reaching the assist column, too.
Clinton's Alex Maxan tried to keep his team in it, earning two goals and one assist. However, Trevor Diamond turned everything else away, the Lakers' goalie earning 22 saves.
In Tuesday's semifinal round, Skaneateles would meet Cazenovia, who beat Cortland/Homer 3-1 to reach this point. The winner goes to Utica Memorial Auditorium Sunday to face New Hartford or Rome Free Academy for the sectional title.
And back home, Allyn Arena will be the host venue for the Division I championship between 21-0, state no. 1-ranked West Genesee and Baldwinsville, which starts at 7 p.m.