Rested, and ready to pounce again, the West Genesee ice hockey team found itself defending an undefeated record, first place in Division I and the top spot in the state rankings.
And the Wildcats proved up to every single challenge, especially in Saturday night's trip to Oswego, where it raced past the Buccaneers 5-2 in front of a big crowd at Crisafulli Rink, better known to Oswego locals as "The Fort".
Temperatures dipped close to zero degrees outside, making the rink colder than normal. But even that couldn't keep the Wildcats from another impressive performance.
WG roared out to a 2-0 lead before the first period was done, and extended the margin to 4-1 before the Bucs could get a handle on the visitors' attack.
Ryan Michel again led the way, scoring twice and adding an assist, while Zach Lewis poured in a goal and two assists. Tim Bubnack had one goal and one assist, with Nick Holzhauer also scoring. Erich Haney matched Lewis with a pair of assists as Casey Schattner got one assist.
Yet it could have been more lopsided. WG controlled the puck for long stretches of the game, taking 43 shots to Oswego's meager total of 10.
Three nights earlier, at Shove Park, the Wildcats ended its two-week holiday rest in grand style, taking out Fayetteville-Manlius 8-2.
Little evidence of rust from the long rest was in place, as WG seized a 2-1 lead before it took over in the second period. The Hornets could do little as the Wildcats poured in four consecutive goals and erased all doubt about the outcome.
Zach Lewis put together a three-goal hat trick, while Casey Schattner and Nick Holzhauer each had two goals and one assist. Cody Ryan also scored as Ryan Michel, Tim Bubnack, Adam King, Erich Haney and Shawn Lynch each finished with two assists.
That Division I regular-season title could be all but secured if WG goes up to Lysander Arena and beats second-place Baldwinsville Friday night -- this after the Wildcats seek 13 in a row against Auburn Tuesday at Shove Park.