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Bees drop hockey final to West Genesee

What the Baldwinsville ice hockey team wanted to do, in head coach Mark Lloyd's 25th season on the bench, was earn the first Section III Division I championship in the program's history.

What happened instead was that it kept running into a machine wearing gold and blue colors.

The Bees got one more shot at undefeated, state no. 1-ranked West Genesee in Saturday night's Division I final at Allyn Arena in Skaneateles, but the Wildcats again shut the door on them, prevailing 4-0 for its third consecutive sectional title.

It marked the second year in a row B'ville lost to WG in the finals, having done so in a 3-2 thriller last year at the Syracuse War Memorial. All told, the Bees have gone to the title game five times in the last eight years, but have been unable to prevail in any of them.

The wait for the final game took more than a week following a 3-2 decision over Oswego in the semifinals on Feb. 19 - and it got longer when a snowstorm pushed the game from Friday to Saturday. The snow also took away some practice time, too.

At first, the Bees just had to try and get on the board against the Wildcats - something it hadn't done in games Dec. 1 at Shove Park (a 6-0 defeat) or Jan. 15 at Lysander Arena (also a 4-0 loss).

While that didn't happen in the first period, B'ville still kept it at 0-0, as Mark Miller continued his fine work in the net in the face of constant Wildcat attacks.

One thing the Bees could not overcome, though, was penalties. Starting in the second period, it seemed that every time a B'ville player went to the box, the WIldcats would capitalize.

All of WG's goals came in the second and third periods, three of them during power plays, the other occurring just as another Bees penalty ended.

Mainly, it was Zach Lewis and Erich Haney figuring out Miller, as Lewis earned a three-goal hat trick and Haney added three assists. Adam King had the Wildcats' other goal.

Meanwhile, the Bees' attack again met with frustration against the vaunted WG back line of Ryan Michel and Tim Bubnack, who put together the team's 14th shutout of the season by holding B'ville to a scant 12 shots.

B'ville finished with a 14-6-1 mark, with half the defeats coming to West Genesee. In all, 13 seniors will depart, including Miller, Connor Bertrand, Brad Burlingame, Paul Schneid and Brett Earle.

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