Start to finish, the Skaneateles ice hockey team found itself outclassed with a Section III Division II championship on the line.
The no. 2 seed Lakers, after its first sectional title since 2008, ran into a superb effort from top seed Oswego and lost, 5-0, to the Buccaneers in Saturday's championship game at Utica Memorial Auditorium.
"We knew exactly what they (Oswego) were going to do, and we tried to counter it," said Skaneateles head coach Mitch Major. "But they were the better team, one step ahead of us."
That it proved so one-sided was quite a surprise. Skaneateles and Oswego had met twice in the regular season, and each time the road team won a close, hard-fought contest - the Bucs 4-2 at Allyn Arena on Dec. 16, the Lakers 3-2 at Crisafulli Rink on Jan. 26.
The second game likely shaped the course of the sectional final. Oswego fell behind 2-0 and 3-1 in that rematch before making a furious late push, and the Bucs did not want that to happen again.
Right from the opening face-off, Skaneateles found itself in a defensive mode, Oswego charging with the puck into open space and attacking hard. At first, Laker goalie Trevor Diamond turned away all of the Bucs' shots and kept it 0-0.
But at the nine-minute mark of the period, Cody Mariano, from the left point, ripped a slap shot past Diamond, a power-play goal that put Oswego ahead 1-0. That proved the appetizer for the second period, where the Bucs all but put the game away.
John Phillips, who assisted on Mariano's initial goal, scored off feeds from Josh Sova and John Kapliewicz three minutes into the period. Then Sova, off a well-timed feed from Kapliewicz, charged in alone and beat Diamond at the 8:59 mark to make it 3-0.