Feb 22, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
One more victory, and the Cazenovia ice hockey team will have possession of a Section III Division II championship.
First, though, it had to make sure it was the best Laker team around – which it emphatically proved Tuesday night with an 8-1 demolition of Skaneateles in the Division II semifinals at the Morrisville State IcePlex.
These same two sides had meet in this same round a year ago at Allyn Arena, Cazenovia prevailing before it suffered a devastating overtime defeat to eventual state champion New Hartford in the sectional finals at Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Of course, Cazenovia has not lost at all this winter – 20 wins in 20 outings – as it went into the playoffs as the state’s no. 1-ranked Division II team, a post it has held since December. The regular season included two more wins over Skaneateles, by a 4-1 margin on Dec. 21 and a 7-0 margin on Jan. 28.
Now Skaneateles arrived at the IcePlex, fresh off a 3-1 opening-round victory over CBA/J-D, determined to reverse the recent course of the Laker rivalry. But it didn’t take long for Cazenovia to assert itself once more.
Despite having not played in 12 days, Cazenovia showed no rust, attacking hard from the opening face-off. The relentless push led to constant scoring opportunities as it beat Skaneateles goalie Trevor Diamond four straight times to build a huge early lead.
Though Skaneateles did settle down in the second period and got on the board with Jacob Cooney’s goal, it could not get closer. Ahead 5-1 going into the final period, Cazenovia sealed matters by scoring three more times.
In all, Cazenovia took 57 shots as six different players managed multiple points. Sam Lewis and Sean Cannizzaro each led the way with four points as Lewis got two goals and two assists and Cannizzaro picked up one goal and three assists.
Close behind them, Brian Gara managed a goal and two assists as Joe Nardella earned three assists. Connor Cannizzaro and John Greacen both poured in two goals, while Adam Baldwin, Lucas Catania and Jeff Stowell managed one assist apiece.
With this win, Cazenovia earned a return to Utica Auditorium, the scene of last season’s heartbreak, for a chance at redemption 12 months later in Saturday’s Division II final against Clinton, who beat Oswego 5-3 in the other semifinal on Wednesday night.
Of course, the Lakers beat the Warriors both times they met in the regular season – 4-1 Dec. 14 at the IcePlex, then 4-0 Jan. 23 at Clinton Arena.