A pair of ill-timed late-season defeats means that the Baldwinsville ice hockey team’s post-season fate will hinge on Friday night’s regular-season finale against Solvay at Allyn Arena in Skaneateles.
Currently, the Bees have 11 points and sit in fifth place in Division I West, one point behind Solvay and Corcoran, who are tied for third. Only the top four finishers advance to the Section III playoffs.
Corcoran is done with league play and cannot change its total of 12 points. Solvay, also at 12 points, has the one league game left against B’ville. A win guarantees that the Bees go into the playoffs. A tie might keep them out, and a loss eliminates them.
All this was set up by a pair of defeats in the penultimate week of the regular season – one not surprising, but the other a bitter disappointment.
First, the Bees took it second shot at undefeated, state Class AA no. 1-ranked West Genesee last Tuesday night on home ice. Despite a brave and tough effort, B’ville lost 3-0, to the Wildcats, who recorded its 12th shutout of the season.
Exactly like the Dec. 21 meeting, which was a one-goal game before WG got away in the third period and prevailed 6-2, B’ville stayed close for two periods. This time, it amounted to a defense that took pressure off goaltender Josh Pinard by making all sorts of deflections in front of possible shots.
Pinard, who finished with 27 saves, had the Bees within 1-0 going to the third period, though every B’ville attempt to get on the board was turned away, WG goalie Jake Pelton working his way to 22 saves on the night.
With a pair of goals in the final period, WG got its cushion, Erik Kurz scoring twice as Shawn Lynch got the other goal.