As the challenges continue to mount for the Cazenovia ice hockey team, sitting atop the state Division II rankings, so do the wins.
It's now 11 in a row for the Lakers as, at the tail end of its busiest stretch of the season, it won the Cicero-North Syracuse Optimist Tournament, beating the host Northstars 6-2 in Saturday's championship game at the Cicero Twin Rinks.
Of course, to reach the final, Cazenovia first had to win in Friday's opening round - and even without one of its top scorers (Sam Lewis) in the lineup, the Lakers throttled the Cougars in an 8-0 shutout.
Corcoran arrived at this game sharing the no. 10 state ranking in Division I, having scored 30 goals on its way to a 7-1 start. None of that mattered here, though, as Cazenovia sprinted out to a 3-0 first-period lead and kept applying pressure.
A four-goal third period sealed things up as John Greacen, just returning from an injury suffered while playing football in the fall, earned a three-goal hat trick, and Brian Gara also had a three-goal outing.
Backing up Greacen and Gara, Connor Cannizzaro and Joe Nardella each finished with one goal and one assist, while Kyle Murray and David Marshall contributed two assists apiece. Jeff Stowell and Sean Cannizzaro picked up single assists.
This set up Saturday's final between Cazenovia and CNS, who beat Penfield 7-4 in the other half of the opening round. And though it was playing for the fourth time in five days, the Lakers (who got Lewis back in the lineup) would not show much fatigue.
Just as in the Corcoran game, Cazenovia seized a 3-0 lead in the first period. Joe Colligan got the first goal just 1:57 into the game on a nifty wrist shot from the left point, and Greacen put home a rebound less than three minutes later. With five minutes left in the period, Gara converted on the power play as Lewis and Sean Cannizzaro earned assists.