Feb 28, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Still perfect, still overwhelming the opposition, still recording shutouts – and still the Section III Division I champions.
That would be the West Genesee ice hockey team, who now own three consecutive titles in the wake of Saturday night’s 4-0 victory over Baldwinsville in the Division I final at Allyn Arena in Skaneateles.
Both of the last two championships have come at the Bees’ expense, WG repeating what it did a season ago when it toppled B’ville 3-2 at the Syracuse War Memorial.
Though the setting changed back to Skaneateles (where WG beat Ithaca in the 2008 sectional final), the result remained exactly the same as Zach Lewis notched the biggest hat trick of his career to lead the way.
It also marked WG’s third shutout over B’ville in as many outings this season. Way back on Dec. 1 at Shove Park in Camillus, it ended 6-0, and the rematch on Jan. 15 at Lysander Arena saw the Wildcats prevail 4-0.
B’ville, who beat Oswego 3-2 in the other semifinal as WG was bashing Liverpool 8-1, set out to ruin the Wildcats’ season-long domination as a large crowd flocked to Allyn Arena (following a 24-hour snow postponement) to see what would happen.
The first period gave B’ville some hope. Despite constant WIldcat pressure and possession of the puck, it could not convert against Bees goaltender Mark Miller, who was coming off a 39-save outing in the semifinal win over Oswego.
As long as it stayed at even strength, WG had to work harder – but once it got some power-play opportunities in the second period, the Wildcats took over once more.
Twice, it beat Miller for goals, pushing its way to a 2-0 lead, and it would convert twice more in the third period. Three of those goals came from man advantages, and the other occurred just as another B’ville penalty was ending.
In the middle of these power plays, Lewis would get in the right position and, three different times, would slide the puck past Miller to gain his hat trick. Often, those passes came from Erich Haney, who finished with three assists.
Adam King notched WG’s other goal, while Ryan Michel and Casey Schattner picked up single assists.
When Michel wasn’t anchoring the Wildcats’ power play, he was back on defense, joining Tim Bubnack and his colleagues to put together the team’s 14th shutout of the season. B’ville got only a handful of chances against goaltender Anthony Militello, who finished with 12 saves. Miller, by contrast, had to make 34 saves to keep it close.
WG will be back at Shove Park Saturday night to host a Division I regional final. Win that, and the Wildcats go to the state “Frozen Four” on March 13-14 at Utica Memorial Auditorium with a chance to get the state title that just eluded them in 2008 and ’09.
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