Caz hockey takes third at Cortland-Homer tourney

Lakers pull out OT victory in consolation game

Nostalgia about recent glory will be on everyone's mind when the Cazenovia ice hockey team starts 2012 action in Tuesday night's home game against Whitesboro at the Morrisville State IcePlex.

In ceremonies prior to that game, the Lakers will formally unveil its 2010-11 state Division II championship banner. It waited until now because several graduating seniors from that team would be back in town due to college winter breaks.

They'll also get a look at the current edition of the Lakers, whose battles with consistency continued during the Cortland-Homer Tournament in the waning days of the previous year.

Up against Frontier, from the Section VI ranks, in Thursday's opening round, Cazenovia saw a great mid-game surge go to waste in a 5-3 loss to the Falcons.

Neither side scored until the second period, when Cazenovia bolted to a 3-2 lead. Connor Race scored twice, with Connor Cannizzaro adding a goal and assist. Brian Gara managed a pair of assists as David Marshall and Jeff Stowell got assists, too.

None of this carried over into the third period, though, as Frontier put up three unanswered goals to move ahead for good. Joey Vecchiarelli finished with 17 saves. Frontier would go on to crush Fayetteville-Manlius 11-3 in the championship game.

Meanwhile, in the consolation game Cazenovia met host Cortland-Homer and had to make a stunning comeback to beat the Golden Eagles 4-3.

Through two periods, the Lakers trailed 3-0 as Cortland-Homer's Danny Turck scored twice. But in that final period Gara took over, earning three points as Cazenovia caught up to force OT, and then won it in the extra frame.

All told, Gara had two goals and assisted on tallies by Marshall and Race, while Cannizzaro and Stowell also had assists. Vecchiarelli atoned for earlier struggles by blanking the Golden Eagles in the third period and OT on his way to 18 saves.

After the banner-raising ceremony and Whitesboro game, Cazenovia (6-3 entering the new year) gets a chance at payback Friday at the IcePlex against CBA/J-D, the team it lost to, 4-1, in the season opener Nov. 30 at Onondaga Nation Arena.

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