By the time it emerged from its own Bobby Conklin Memorial Tournament, the Baldwinsville ice hockey team knew that, as much as it may have improved over last season, a lot of steps remain before it can threaten the top of the ranks.
That much became apparent in last Friday night’s opening round against Corcoran. Three different one-goal leads slipped away in what turned out to be a 5-4 loss to the Cougars.
Prior to the game, ceremonies honored Conklin, the B’ville hockey captain who, in his senior year at Baker High School, passed away in an automobile accident in November 2005 while on his way to practice.
Head coach Mark Lloyd spoke to the crowd about Conklin’s leadership abilities, and his parents were on hand to drop the ceremonial first puck. Conklin’s number 11 hangs in the rafters at Greater B’ville Ice Arena.
With the ceremonies over, B’ville struck with a goal six seconds into the game, Steve Schneid converting off Justin Newman’s feed. But it didn’t get on the board the rest of the period and Corcoran tied it, 1-1, on Andrew Jackson’s power-play tally.
They continued to go back and forth in the second period, as Ronnie May and Newman converted for the Bees and, in between, Jackson and Steve Young got goals for the Cougars, leaving it 3-3.
With 9:03 left, Brian Burlingame’s wraparound goal pushed B’ville back in front 4-3, only to have Young tie it again less than five minutes later. And with 2:05 left in regulation, Collin Thompson’s slap shot got past Chris Johns for what proved to be the game-winner.
Despite an all-out attack in the final minute, Corcoran held on, buoyed by the work of eighth-grade goalie Liam Moore, who recorded 33 saves. Johns finished with 20 saves.
Relegated to Saturday’s consolation game against Solvay (who lost 3-1 to Ithaca in the other half of the opening round), the Bees would find more disappointment there as another late lead got away in a 4-2 loss to the Bearcats.