On the weekend of Feb. 12 and 13, the four best girls hockey teams in New York will gather at the Skaneateles Community Center for the state "Frozen Four".
And the home team wants to be an active participant - not just a gracious host.
To do that, the Skaneateles Lakers will need to play well this weekend in its last three regular-season games - trips to Chazy on Friday and Saturday, then a Sunday home finale against Lake Placid. The playoff quarterfinals are Feb. 6.
Skaneateles is one of 13 teams in the Upstate New York Girls High School Hockey League, an association whose geographic scope ranges from Ithaca to Chazy, in the state's northeast corner next to Vermont.
This means that, with the exception of Ithaca and Oswego, every road trip for the Lakers is a long one and involves multiple games, usually on the weekend.
Entering this weekend, Skaneateles has an overall record of six wins, four losses, two ties and two overtime losses. In league games, the Lakers are 4-2-2-1, adding up to 16 points. Regulation wins count for three points, OT wins two points, ties 1.5 points and overtime losses one point.
The Lakers' season began on Dec. 4 with a 4-3 loss to Salmon River. A night later, Skaneateles hit the win column for the first time, toppling Massena 2-1.
Following two postponements and a 13-day respite, the Lakers had a rematch with Massena Dec. 18 and, powered by goalie Alexandra Brown and her 41 saves, shut out the Red Raiders 3-0. Michele Bronk, Kim O'Brien and Victoria Major earned the goals.
Salmon River topped Skaneateles a second time, 3-1, a day after the Massena rematch, but the Lakers closed 2009 with a pair of wins.
On Dec. 22, the Lakers beat its closest rival, Ithaca, 4-2, as Major, Hannah McKerchie, Maddy Elia and Taylor Kerr split up the goal-scoring duties. Exactly a week later, with Brown recording 28 saves, Skaneateles blanked Oswego 4-0 as Maddy Morrissey got two goals, with Bronk and Brittany Williams each finding the net, too.