By its own high standards, the Baldwinsville ice hockey team was nowhere near normal a season ago, floundering to an 8-12-1 record and a quick Division I playoff exit.
As soon as that 7-0 loss to reigning four-time champion West Genesee in February was finished, though, the Bees, along with head coach Mark Lloyd, went to work, with the intention of roaring back into contention in 2011-12.
Among other things, B’ville had to deal with a split in Division I. A year after realignment, two divisions were set up, with the Bees joining West Genesee, Liverpool, Fayetteville-Manlius, Corcoran, Cortland-Homer and Solvay in the West division. Cicero-North Syracuse, Rome Free Academy, Central Square, Ontario Bay, Hamilton and Watertown IHC make up the East division.
Also, the Bees have more company at Greater Baldwinsville Ice Arena. Liverpool will play all of its home games in Lysander after moving out of the State Fair Coliseum, so that means twice as many high-school contests for local fans to savor.
With all the pre-season work behind them, B’ville began 2011-12 with a superb all-around effort Thursday night in Lysander, outscoring Cicero-North Syracuse in a 10-5 decision.
It helped, a bit, that CNS had played the night before (a 9-2 rout of Cortland-Homer), so the Bees were fresher. Still, it faced a tall task trying to contain Northstars forward Eric Hamilton, who had five goals against the Golden Eagles.
To counter, B’ville used sheer volume. Hamilton, on his way to three goals and one assist, helped forge 2-2 and 3-3 ties, but in the second period the Bees took over with four unanswered goals, moving ahead 7-3, and never got caught.
In contrast to CNS’s dependence on Hamilton, B’ville had nine different players put in goals before the night was done. Only Parker Ferrigan found the net twice, adding an assist.