Feb 11, 2012 Kris Russell Uncategorized
With a single and decisive result, the Solvay ice hockey team moves into the Section III Division I playoffs – and Baldwinsville is kept out.
Solvay ended B’ville’s season with a 4-2 triumph in a Division I boys’ hockey game Friday night at Allyn Arena in Skaneateles, which has served as the Bearcats’ home rink for most of this season.
The Bearcats scored the game’s first and last two goals to clinch second place in Division I West after Fayetteville-Manlius (who entered the night in second) lost Friday to West Genesee 3-0. Solvay went 7-5 in league play, and is 14-6 overall.
The Bees’ loss put an end to a disappointing season. B’ville (9-10-1 overall) slumped at the end of the year to finish 5-6-1 in West play.
Coach Mark Lloyd’s squad needed only one win in its last four games to clinch a playoff spot. They went 0-3-1, and earned an unwanted spot on the tournament sidelines.
“It’s a tough division (and) a tough league,” Lloyd said.
The Bees gave themselves a great chance to secure a playoff place Friday, recovering nicely from a slow start.
Solvay had Allyn Arena rocking, scoring twice before the game was six minutes old. Sophomore Tyler O’Mara tallied both goals.
B’ville’s response was rapid. Shane O’Brien ripped home a wrist shot from a faceoff just 32 seconds after O’Mara’s goal. Now the Bees had the momentum and kept it the rest of the period, though Solvay’s fine goaltender, Ryan Bonk, kept his team in the lead with 12 first period saves.
Bonk had no chance, though, when B’ville pulled even, 2-2, early in the second period. Ronnie May took a nice pass from Parker Ferrigan, and sent a low shot past Bonk at the 4:28 mark.
Yet before the Bees could stop celebrating, it trailed again less than 90 seconds later as David Graf one-timed a power-play shot through B’ville goalie Chris Johns.
The Bees were once again faced with difficult task of beating Bonk, and could not do so the rest of the night.
“Thank God (Bonk’s) a senior,” Lloyd said. “He’s very, very solid. Occasionally you get a goal, but he doesn’t beat himself.”
B’ville put nine third-period shots on Bonk and couldn’t get one past him. And any chance the Bees had of really pressuring Solvay and Bonk ended when it got whistled for a four-minute major penalty with just 4:16 left.
Solvay’s Austin Webb put the game on ice with a long distance shot into the Bees empty net with 19 seconds left.
Solvay swarmed Bonk (who finished with 30 saves) enthusiastically at game’s end, knowing they’d earned the right to host a quarterfinal game next week. That will come Friday night against Divison I East’s no. 3 seed, Central Square.
Just as importantly, it avoids going into West Genesee’s half of the playoff bracket, so it would not have to meet the Wildcats until the sectional finals, should both teams get there.
“It’s been six years since we’ve hosted a playoff game,” Solvay coach John Campbell said. “Usually we finish third or fourth.”
Lloyd would have gladly traveled as a lower seed next week instead of staying home. He can use the time to look forward to next year.
“We lose nine (very good) seniors,” Lloyd said. “I think we could be decent. But it’s up in the air. We don’t really know. We’ll see who turns up next fall.”
As for West Genesee, it locked up that unbeaten regular-season mark with that 3-0 shutout of F-M, getting all of its goals in the first two periods.
R.J. Tinklepaugh put the Wildcats ahead 1-0 in the first period, capitalizing on a rebound. Then, in the second period, Jon Lauer twice found the net, deflecting home Nick Mellen’s shot and then scoring a second time off a rebound. Matt Schattner had two assists as Shawn Lynch, Nick Mellen and Matt Skrupa earned one assist apiece.
Defensively, WG got its 13th shutout of the season, holding F-M to just eight shots all night. Even when the Hornets got a five-on-three situation late in the second period and a chance to eat into the deficit, the Wildcats kept them off the board.