Wildcats beat Potsdam, return to state final four

Everything up to this point for the West Genesee ice hockey team has been quite familiar to the players that have been there the last three seasons.

Each of those times, a regular-season league title has been followed by a Section III championship and a regional crown. All that's been missing is a state championship.

Now the Wildcats have that chance, again, thanks to Saturday night's 3-1 victory over Potsdam in the regional title game that featured a rare deficit quickly overcome by well-timed bursts of offense.

Playing one more time on the friendly home ice of Shove Park in Camillus, WG moved to 23-0, stayed atop the state rankings and secured a bid in next weekend's state "Frozen Four", to be played again at Utica Memorial Auditorium.

True, it wasn't the shutout Wildcat fans have grown to anticipate (WG has blanked 14 different foes this season). But it was good enough, even if the start was a bit dicey.

Potsdam silenced any notion of a shutout when Seth Adams deflected a slap shot from Greg Burkum past WG goaltender Anthony Militello, silencing the standing-room only crowd and giving the Sandstoners a 1-0 lead.

Late in the first period, WG still was behind, despite once again controlling the flow of play and spending large amounts of time in the opponent's end.

Any hockey coach or player will say that a goal near the end of a period will have the biggest emotional impact. And WG got it when, 53 seconds before intermission, Zach Lewis took a wrist shot that Potsdam goalie Evan Drummatter stopped - but the rebound came right to Adam King, who fired the puck into the net to tie it 1-1.

Despite this jolt, WG could not immediately capitalize in the second periods, the two sides turning cautious as the Sandstoners hung in there.

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