In the ongoing ice hockey saga involving the Laker sides of Cazenovia and Skaneateles, it’s clear now that the power has shifted back west.
Skaneateles proved this by going to the Morrisville State IcePlex last Tuesday night and taking apart Cazenovia in all phases of the game on the way to a 7-0 shutout victory.
After dropping the sectional final to Oswego a season ago, Skaneateles has roared out of the gate in 2012-13, winning each of its first five games, three of them shutouts.
Against Cazenovia, Skaneateles made it a fourth shutout, wasting little time blasting out to a 3-0 first-period lead. Pressure was maintained during the second period, Cazenovia rarely able to establish its own attack as, in the final period, the visitors scored three more times.
Between them, Cazenovia goalies Mario Benedetti and Ryan McCann picked up 24 saves. Owen Kuhns led Skaneateles with a three-goal hat trick, adding an assist.
Now Cazenovia had to recover in time for Saturday’s game at New Hartford, who had raced off to its own 4-0 start in the wake of a pair of poor seasons following back-to-back state titles in 2009 and ’10.
It turned out to be a spectacular sort of recovery as, trailing by three entering the third period, the Lakers made a furious comeback to force overtime and escape with a 4-4 tie.
The younger, deeper New Hartford squad controlled matters in the early stages. Four different Spartans – Alec Bard, Pat Coughlin, Mike Rich and Tyler Clark – earned goals, and the Lakers steadily fell behind 4-1, not even getting on the board until the second period.
Somewhere in the second intermission, though, the Lakers came to life. And in the final 15 minutes, Cazenovia’s all-out attack led to a rally.
Jeff Stowell and Connor Cannizzaro both would score twice, while A.J. Davis and Billy Rankin both finished with a pair of assists and Joe Colligan contributed an assist, too.
Meanwhile, McCann picked up his game, stopping everything the Spartans threw at him in the third period and overtime on his way to 28 saves overall. Cazenovia could not get the game-winner in OT as Spartans goalie Mike Cuchiarele, who finished with 33 saves, made some late stops.
At 2-2-1 on the season following this tie, Cazenovia would visit Auburn on Tuesday before returning to the IcePlex Friday night to face Fulton. After that, it plays Dec. 28-29 in the Cortland-Homer Tournament.