When the Cazenovia ice hockey team visited Whitesboro on Friday night, it does so needing victories to stay in Division II playoff contention.
On Friday and Saturday, the Lakers played in the Cortland-Homer Tournament, where it lost both of its games to slide below the .500 mark.
In the first round, Cazenovia faced Frontier, from Section VI, and though the attack was sharp, the defense was porous, leading to a 7-4 loss to the Falcons.
Right away, Frontier found the net, and put Cazenovia in a 3-1 deficit by the end of the first period. In the second, the Lakers nearly caught up, but the Falcons held on to a 4-3 edge and got away in the final period with a pair of late tallies.
Jeff Stowell, in defeat, scored twice, while A.J. Davis and Sam Webster had the other goals. Brad Nardella and Connor Cannizzaro each scored twice as Billy Rankin added an assist of his own. Playing in goal, Mario Benedetti and Ryan McCann combined for 25 saves.
This put Cazenovia into the consolation game against Division I contender Fayetteville-Manlius, who lost in a shoot-out to host Cortland-Homer in the other part of the opening round.
As it turned out, this game was its own kind of shoot-out without the need to break a tie, as again the Lakers produced plenty, but gave up and fell to the Hornets 7-5.
It was simply a matter of finishing off chances in the first two periods. F-M, led by the duo of Anthony Angello and Trevor Chase, beat up Cazenovia’s defenders and built a 5-2 edge through two periods as both Angello and Chase would finish with three goals and three assists.
Cazenovia had more shots, but they tended to end up gloved, or kicked away, by Hornets goalie Ben Napierala, who finished with 41 saves, 20 more than McCann, who played the whole game in the net for the Lakers.
Despite all this, Cazenovia tried to catch up in the latter stages. Connor Race, with three assists, anchored an attack where Cannizzaro scored twice, with Davis and Joe Colligan each getting one goal and one assist. Stowell also scored, with Adam Race adding an assist.
But it wasn’t quite enough, leaving Cazenovia with plenty of defensive work to do before its trip to Whitesboro.