Perhaps the only real negative about the West Genesee ice hockey team’s defeat to Suffern in the Dec. 1 final of the Wildcat Classic was that it prevented long-time head coach Frank Colabufo from reaching a major milestone on home ice.
Instead, Colabufo’s 300th career win, accomplished in his 19th season at the Wildcats’ helm, would take place at McDonald Arena Friday night, where WG blanked Cortland-Homer in a 4-0 decision.
During his tenure, Colabufo’s teams have won seven Section III titles, including the last five, plus a pair of state championships in 2001 and 2010, to go with several other trips to the state final four in Utica.
Many of the elements common to Colabufo’s best teams were present in that 300th win at Cortland-Homer, including a balanced, relentless attack and a stifling defense that never let the Golden Eagles do too much.
All of the Wildcats’ offense came in the first two periods. Four different players - Jake O’Donnell, Robbie Michel, Tommy Hanley and Derek Farrell – earned those four goals, while Ryan McDonald, Nick Mellen, Corey Raaflub and Tyler Foster picked up assists.
Then Michel, Mellen and the rest of WG’s defense protected that margin in its usual way, constantly moving the puck out of its own end and protecting goaltender Henry Burns, who only had to make 10 saves. WG took 42 shots, more than four times the Golden Eagles’ number.
Two nights earlier, In its Division I opener against Liverpool at Shove Park, the Wildcats got Colabufo win no. 299 by completely dominating the flow of play, taking more than a shot per minute on the way to a 4-2 victory over the Warriors.
The offensive blitz WG offered late in its defeat to Suffern (16 shots taken, two goals scored) was continued against Liverpool, even if it only resulted in a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period.