Solvay, WG hockey win to set up showdown

Bearcats rally past Ithaca; Wildcats trip B'ville

— If the Solvay hockey team wanted to enjoy a happier holiday season than normal, it has to do what few other Division I foes in recent memory have pulled off – namely, beat West Genesee.

The two neighbors would square off Friday night on the Bearcats’ new ‘home’ ice at Allyn Arena in Skaneateles, with first place in Division I West at stake. Solvay enters with a 7-1 mark.

All of this was set up by big games on back-to-back nights. Solvay went first, going to Syracuse University’s home ice at Tennity Pavilion and making a stirring late comeback to beat Ithaca 4-3.

These same two sides had first met Dec. 9 in the first round of the Bobby Conklin Memorial Tournament, the Little Red prevailing 3-1 to give Solvay what was still its only defeat of the season.

In search of some payback, the Bearcats again fell behind when, 90 seconds into the game, Ithaca’s Michael Abdulky scored, the only tally in a first period that Solvay otherwise controlled.

The sustained Bearcat pressure lasted deep into the second period, too, but didn’t start paying off until Peter Lynch zapped home a slap shot to tie it, 1-1. Solvay went ahead less than two minutes later when Ben Carrock poked home the rebound of Steve Wood’s wrist shot.

Even that didn’t last, though, as Ithaca’s Anthony Massicci scored twice in a 95-second span late in the period, pushing Solvay behind again at 3-2, where it stood at intermission.

Solvay regained momentum a mere 19 seconds into the third period as Carrock’s second goal forced a 3-3 deadlock. Then David Graf flung a slap shot past Ithaca goalie Aaron Goldberg, and the Bearcats led again.

Try as it could (especially in the closing minutes), Ithaca could not answer back and force overtime as Bonk finished with 17 saves, six less than Goldberg.

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