Just two seasons removed from a state Division II championship, the Cazenovia ice hockey team is finding the path a lot rougher than before.
The Lakers, who went 12-8-2 a season ago before falling to Skaneateles in the Section III semifinal round, had two chances to get in the win column in 2012-13 before the calendar turned to December.
First, Cazenovia hosted CBA/J-D last Tuesday night at the Morrisville State IcePlex, where it led going to the third period, only to give that away in a 3-2 defeat to the Brothers.
CBA/J-D had already played twice, going 0-2 in a weekend tournament, and in the Division II opener the Lakers inched in front of them 2-1 by the end of the second period.
Connor Race and Jeff Stowell recorded the goals and assisted on each other’s scoring plays, while Jake Stowell also picked up an assist. But Cazenovia could not pull further ahead due to the terrific work of CBA/J-D goaltender Hunter Anderson, who had 36 saves.
Fueled by Anderson’s play, the Brothers overcame Mario Benedetti’s 21 saves with a pair of third-period goals. Ryan Durkin (one goal, one assist), Sam Mueller and Scott Firman (two assists each) led the rally, and
After all this, the Lakers had to make the long trip to Lysander to face Baldwinsville Friday night. It turned into a classic, the two sides going back and forth all night until an overtime goal pushed Cazenovia past the Bees 5-4.
The Lakers were down, 2-1, after one period. But its defense tightened, keeping B’ville off the board in the second frame as it grabbed a 3-2 advantage.
That didn’t last, either, the Bees getting a pair of goals to seize a 4-3 advantage. But it would be Cazenovia enjoying the final spurt, tying it late in regulation and winning it in the OT period.
Connor Cannizzaro, quiet in the opener, roared to form against B’ville with a pair of goals. Jeff Stowell, Jake Stowell and Brendan Whalen had the other goals, while Race and Joe Colligan earned one assist apiece. Each of Benedetti’s 36 saves proved important in the exciting, back-and-forth affair as B’ville counterpart Josh Pinard finished with 26 saves.
Cazenovia only plays once next week, hosting Clinton on Tuesday at the IcePlex.