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Caz hockey drops opener to CBA/J-D

Defending state champs allow two short-handed goals

— Already one thing is settled about the Cazenovia ice hockey team - it won't go undefeated.

In fact, the Lakers are in for many more challenges in 2011-12, as indicated by Wednesday night's 4-1 defeat to CBA/J-D in the season opener at Onondaga Nation Arena in Nedrow.

Of course, last winter brought pure perfection for head coach Jon Davignon and his Lakers - 25 games, 25 victories, culminating in a first-ever state Division II championship earned in a 6-1 romp over Williamsville East on March 13 at Utica Memorial Auditorium.

Gone from that team are many of its cornerstones, from goaltender Mason Powell to defenders Sean Cannizzaro and Joe Nardella to forwards like John Greacen, Sam Lewis and Lucas Catania.

It is up to returning stars like Brian Gara, Connor Cannizzaro and Alan Baldwin to keep the Lakers at a high level, but the first returns against CBA/J-D proved rough to take.

The Brothers, under first-year head coach Mike McKie (he replaced Jason Mucha), had already played twice, falling to Williamsville South 3-2 and defending state Division I champion Williamsville North 5-0 on Thanksgiving weekend in the Buffalo area.

Perhaps that ice time led to more rhythm on the offensive side, and CBA/J-D struck first 3:23 into the game when Nick Papayanakos, off a steal from Scott Firman, pushed a shot past the Lakers' new goalie, Joey Vecchiarelli.

Cazenovia took more shots throughout the night - 37, to the Brothers' 21. However, most of those shots ended up swatted away, or in the glove, of freshman goalie Tim Decker, who recorded 36 saves.

The getaway took place in the second period. Twice, CBA/J-D burned the Lakers for short-handed goals, one from Ryan Durkin at the 9:53 mark and another from Papayanakos barely three minutes later. All this followed Chris Lavin's power-play tally early in the frame.

Finally, the Lakers got on the board when Cannizzaro converted on a breakaway with 5:16 left, but that was all Decker would give up.

Cazenovia will visit Clinton next Tuesday before having its home opener Dec. 9 against Oswego at the Morrisville State IcePlex. CBA/J-D will visit Oswego (who ripped Whitesboro 7-2 in its opener) on Friday night.

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