Whatever it tried, and no matter how hard the effort, the Skaneateles ice hockey team, like so many others this winter, could not stop Cazenovia.
In the sixth encounter between the two Lakers squads in the last two years, Skaneateles lost, 8-1, in last Tuesday night's Section III Division II semifinal at the Morrisville State College IcePlex.
They had met in exact same round in 2010, at Allyn Arena. Cazenovia won that time, too, leading to a sectional final where it lost in overtime to eventual state champion New Hartford.
Here, Skaneateles was trying to reverse a pair of regular-season defeats to Cazenovia, by margins of 4-1 on Dec. 21 at the IcePlex and 7-0 at Allyn Arena on Jan. 28. But it didn't take long for the state's top-ranked Division II team to assert itself.
Cazenovia overwhelmed the Skaneateles defenses and notched four unanswered goals in the first period. Jacob Cooney finally got his team on the board in the second period, scoring off a feed from Dan Tarolli, but that would be all.
Trevior Diamond had a brave and busy effort in the net, recording 49 saves, but he could not keep everything out. Five different Cazenovia players scored as Sam Lewis, John Greacen and Connor Cannizzaro each posted two goals. Lewis added two assists as Sean Cannizzaro put up a goal and two assists.
Skaneateles finished its season with a 14-7-1 record and does not graduate many players, so it should stay among the ranks of title contenders next winter, too.