Right after the New Year, the Skaneateles boys ice hockey team started its highest-profile stretch of the season, with a key rivalry and its annual Duke Schneider Memorial Tournament on the agenda.
First, the Lakers went to Casey Park Rink to face Auburn Tuesday night and played, arguably, its best first period of the season, using it as the springboard to a 5-0 shutout of the Maroons.
Auburn’s move to Division II last season meant annual home-and-home games between the Lakers and Maroons. Since then, Skaneateles has owned the series, and it came into this edition well-rested, having not played for 11 days since it blanked New Hartford in another 5-0 decision on Dec. 23.
And it didn’t take long for the Lakers to hurt Auburn, Mitchell Jones scoring 25 seconds into the game and making it 2-0 by the three-minute mark as Scott Longtin converted. Another goal followed, and at the intermission Skaneateles found itself with a comfortable 3-0 lead.
Single goals followed in the second and third periods, and the only suspense was whether the Lakers’ defense could maintain the shutout. It did, as Trevor Diamond turned away all 22 shots he faced.
A deep, balanced Laker attack saw 11 different players earn points. Jon Rogalia, with a goal and two assists, led the way as Longtin would add a second goal. Jones and Jake Cooney had the other goals, while Connor Hill, Taylor Haberstock, Tyler Strods, Tyler Stanton, Brendan Major and Jim Rodgers each had one assist.
This followed the New Hartford game, where all the goals came in the last two periods. Longtin led that effort with two goals and one assist, while Haberstock managed three assists. Major had a goal and assist as Rodgers and Stanton also found the net.
Those wins helped Skaneaetles again rise into first place in Division II with 13 points (6-1-1), one more than Oswego. In Friday’s opening round of the Schneider Tournament at Allyn Arena, the Lakers have a rematch with New Hartford.