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Skaneateles beats Caz, goes to Division II hockey final

Lakers to face Oswego after upending state champs

A shot gets by Cazenovia goaltender Joey Vecchiarelli during a recent game against Clinton at the Morrisville Iceplex. Although he stopped 17 shots against the Skaneateles Lakers, Cazenovia lost 5-2 on Feb. 21. Vecchiarelli logged a total of 420 saves for the 2011-12 season.

A shot gets by Cazenovia goaltender Joey Vecchiarelli during a recent game against Clinton at the Morrisville Iceplex. Although he stopped 17 shots against the Skaneateles Lakers, Cazenovia lost 5-2 on Feb. 21. Vecchiarelli logged a total of 420 saves for the 2011-12 season. Photo by Pierce Smith.

— Brendan Major took a nice pass out front from Jake Cooney and zipped home the eventual game winner at the 6:37 mark. Hill then popped home his second, converting a Thomas Bronk pass with just 1:15 left in the period to make it 4-2.

Mitch Major credited his players with sticking to the game plan. “We were able just to mentally stay tough which meant win the 50/50 (situations), play physical, and we were going to get our turnovers,” he said.

Any thought Cazenovia had of getting back into the game were wrecked by Cooney just 50 seconds into the third period.

Cazenovia had a power play but Cooney paid no mind. The senior wing took a pass from Brendan Major, fought his way around a Cazenovia defenseman, and slipped a low backhand into the net.

“It was just pretty,” Mitch Major said. “He’s just a warrior. He played like a warrior tonight. He told me when he came off the ice he never, ever pulled that move off. He willed that into the net.”

A three-goal cushion was more than enough for the excellent Diamond, who finished with 23 saves. Cazenovia goalie Joey Vecchiarelli stopped 17 shots.

Sunday’s final is the rubber match between Skaneateles and Oswego. The Buccaneers won a 4-2 decision in Skaneateles in December at Allyn Arena. The Lakers returned the favor, coming away 3-2 winners at Oswego on Feb. 2.

“It’s just nice to be in the sectional championship,” Major said. “It’s a goal of ours to get back to Utica. It’s a special place for us.”

The Lakers last trip to the Aud was a successful one. Skaneateles defeated Whitesboro, 5-2, to capture the 2008 Section III title.

Cazenovia’s state title run concluded, as ultimately it could not overcome the personnel losses from its magical 2010-11 run. Now, Vecchiarelli, Brian Gara and Alan Baldwin depart, but there’s far more returning talent for 2012-13 as, together, the likes of Marshall, Connor Cannizzaro, Jeff Stowell, Jake Stowell and Joe Colligan lead the way.

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