Major hat trick leads Lakers past Auburn

Skaneateles completes season sweep of Maroons

— A long, frustrating week passed between the Skaneateles ice hockey team’s loss to Clinton on Feb. 1 and its return to the ice for last Wednesday’s game against Auburn at Allyn Arena.

Not only did the Lakers have to stew about squandering a three-goal lead to the Warriors in a 5-4 decision, it had to deal with the fact that the defeat cost them a chance at the Division II regular-season title, which Oswego clinched last Tuesday with a win over Fulton.

Add to that the inherent competitiveness of the Skaneateles-Auburn rivalry, and the inevitable result was a game full of penalties and physical play, though thanks to Brendan Major’s hat trick, the Lakers overcame it to beat the Maroons 4-1.

Having lost the first meeting 5-0 at Casey Park on Jan. 3, Auburn was bent on payback. But Skaneateles quickly seized control in the first period as Major and Owen Kuhns put shots past Maroons goalie Jeff Gardner.

Just as importantly, a pattern of penalties developed, both sides having to kill off the other team’s power plays. This included a major penalty in the second period where Skaneateles spent more than five minutes down a man, but still Auburn couldn’t score.

Meanwhile, Major converted his second goal to make it 3-0, and midway through the final period Major, off a feed from Jake Cooney, beat Gardner to earn the hat trick.

On the defensive end, the Lakers made sure there would be no Auburn comeback. Jack Fabrizio, Tyler Strods, Tyler Stanton, Josh Kuhns and the rest of the back line doing a superb job of penalty-killing and protection.

As a result, Trevor Diamond only had to make 19 saves. It took Kevin Franceschelli’s goal late in the third period to break up the shutout.

Though locked into the no. 2 playoff seed, the Lakers still wanted to build up momentum for the playoffs, which made Saturday’s regular-season finale against CBA/J-D an important one. The two sides had played to a 2-2 tie back on Dec. 6.

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