Four consecutive seasons for the West Genesee ice hockey team have ended with at least the Section III Division I title in its possession, with a state championship in 2010 added to the collection.
Now the Wildcats are on a quest for more glory, and it had a smooth start to the 2011-12 season Tuesday night when it shut out Hamilton 3-0 at Colgate University's Starr Rink.
A strong core of talent returns for WG head coach Frank Colabufo. It includes team captain Shawn Lynch, fellow forward Erik Kurz, goaltender Jake Pelton and the strong defensive trio of Matt Schattner, R.J. Tinklepaugh and Robbie Michel.
Not surprisingly, that defense helped carry the way against Hamilton, so the Wildcats could afford muddling through a scoreless first period before getting on the board twice in the second period to take charge.
Lynch earned two goals and assisted on Kurz's tally, with linemate Jon Lauer contributing a pair of his own assists. and Hamliton managed just 13 shots against Pelton, all of them stopped, while WG took more than three times that number.
After statewide realignment expanded the Division I ranks a year ago, the league split in two this fall.
The Wildcats are in the West division with Solvay, Baldwinsville, Liverpool, Cortland-Homer, Corcoran and Fayetteville-Manlius. Six others - Hamilton, Cicero-North Syracuse, Rome Free Academy, Ontario Bay, Watertown IHC and Central Square - are in the East division.
WG hosts its annual Wildcat Classic on Friday and Saturday at Shove Park. The Wildcats meet north country power Massena in the first round at 7:30, after Suffern plays Fairport at 5 p.m. The consolation game is Saturday at 2:30, with the final at 5 p.m.