Past glory, and present reality, collided in a big way when the Cazenovia ice hockey team started the 2012 portion of its schedule.
The Lakers chose Tuesday night’s home game against Whitesboro at the Morrisville State IcePlex as the night to unveil the 2010-11 state Division II championship banner, since most of the graduated players would be back in town to participate in the ceremony.
Happy as that was, it was followed by a contest where the Lakers, right in the midst of the fight for first place in the league standings, struggled and took a surprising 3-2 defeat to the Warriors.
Whitesboro came into the game with a 1-7-1 record, and caught a break since the Lakers did not have its captain, Brian Gara, in the lineup.
Still, Cazenovia spent most of the game in the Warriors’ end, attacking hard. All the Lakers could manage, though, were goals from Connor Cannizzaro and Joe Colligan as David Marshall and Jeff Stowell picked up assists.
Otherwise, Warrior goalie Tyler Garcia was sensational, picking up 38 saves to negate the Lakers’ 2-to-1 advantage in terms of shot ratio.
Many of those saves came in a scoreless third period as Whitesboro clung to the slim margin picked up in the first two periods as Geoff Webb scored twice and Dan Cecilia added an assist.
Now it was imperative for the Lakers (with Gara back on the ice) to bounce back Friday against CBA/J-D, a team it lost to 4-1 back on Nov. 30. And it would, coming from behind for a 5-4 overtime victory over the Brothers.
Again, Cazenovia found itself thwarted throughout the early stages by CBA/J-D goalie Tim Decker, who would try to repeat his earlier heroics and post 32 saves.
The difference here, though, was that Cazenovia did score early, and even though it trailed 3-2 after two periods, it didn’t fold, catching up in the third period and getting the OT goal it needed.
Having Gara made a difference, as he posted a goal and two assists to lead a well-balanced attack. Five different players – Gara, Marshall, Stowell, Cannizzaro and Colligan – had the five goals, with Connor Race joining Stowell, Marshall, Cannizzaro and Alan Baldwin in the assist column. CBA/J-D’s Brendan Flanagan managed a three-goal hat trick.
The win over CBA/J-D moved Cazenovia into third place in Division II with 12 points, trailing Oswego and Skaneateles. The Lakers host Clinton Friday before a key showdown with the Buccaneers Jan. 17 at the IcePlex.