Skaneateles hockey honors Marines

True, an important game was taking place Wednesday night when the Skaneateles ice hockey team hosted CBA/J-D at Allyn Arena.

But the main point of the night had nothing to do with sticks or pucks or slap shots. It had to do with honoring America's soldiers.

For "Support Our Troops Night", Skaneateles honored four United States Marines from Upstate New York, just returned from a year-long tour of duty that included six months' service in Iraq.

Cpl. Mark Grady, a 2003 Skaneateles graduate, was honored along with Cpl. Jim Raschella, Sgt. Justin Kenyon and Staff Sgt. William Kendall, in a pregame ceremony as they all received plaques honoring their service.

Fans attending the game were handed miniature American flags, and had a chance to purchase $5 patches from the group New York State Hockey Players Support Our Troops. The Skaneateles Middle School Jazz Ensemble entertained in the lobby before the game and in between periods.

Amid all this was a game - and it was an exciting one, with all kinds of momentum shifts and a dramatic finish to regulation that resulted in a 3-3 tie.

Skaneateles and CBA/J-D are, along with Corocran and Cortland/Homer, fighting for first place in Division II West, and this game did little to clear up the picture.

The visiting Brothers struck first, just 1:33 into the game, as Harry Kalet scored off a feed from Nick Papayanakos. It remained 1-0 until early in the second period, when the Lakers' Packy Jones tied it as Rory Callahan and Dan Tarolli earned assists.

Midway through the second period, CBA/J-D had back-to-back power plays and, on the second of them, Papayanakos grabbed a loose puck behind the net and sneaked it past Trevor Diamond, putting the Brothers back in front 2-1.

So it remained until a Skaneateles flourish early in the third period. Just 19 seconds in, Jim Rodgers hit a wrist shot that went through a screen past CBA/J-D goalie Dan DiStefano to tie it again, 2-2, and just 2:34 later Sean Cooney's goal gave the Lakers its first lead of the night.

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