Jan 20, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Lodged in third place in Division II, the Cazenovia ice hockey team’s only real chance to move up the top of the standings came when it faced the first and second-place teams in the league in consecutive games – and against them, it could only manage a single point.
First, the Lakers visited Crisafulli Rink Tuesday night to play Oswego, who led the league. There, one bad period turned things against Cazenovia in a 4-1 defeat to the Buccaneers.
The Lakers had confidence stemming from a 3-2 win over Oswego back on Dec. 9 at the Morrisville State IcePlex, and that did not dissipate through a scoreless first period in the rematch.
However, the Bucs took over in the second period, getting on the board with goals from Zach Zerrahn and Josh Sova to go ahead 2-0 before Brad Nardella put the Lakers on the board at the 8:59 mark.
It looked like Cazenovia would stay within that slim 2-1 margin going into the third period – but in the final seconds of the second frame, Dan Maniccia, off a pass from John Phillips, slid a shot past Cazenovia goalie Joey Vecchiarelli. The Lakers never recovered as Trent Yule converted on another power play with 8:23 left to seal it for the Bucs.
This gave new urgency to Cazenovia’s cause as, without Connor Cannizzaro in the lineup, it returned to the IcePlex Thursday night to face Skaneateles, looking to avenge a 4-2 defeat to those other Lakers at Allyn Arena a month earlier.
Cazenovia could not quite pull this off – but it still managed to break a long shutout streak Skaneateles possessed and did earn a single point through a 2-2 tie.
Going in, Skaneateles had not allowed a goal in regulation in five-plus games, in large part due to the tremendous work of goaltender Trevor Diamond, who would also blank Cazenovia here in the first period as Jake Cooney’s tally put the visitors up 1-0.
In the second period, Cazenovia picked up its attack, swarming the net and making sure the puck did not get out of its own end. Amid one of those scrambles, Brian Gara poked a shot past Diamond, ending the shutout streak and forging a 1-1 tie.
The third period was not even 30 seconds old when Jim Rodgers, finishing off a two-on-one breakaway with Brendan Major, beat Vecchiarelli on a backhand, putting Skaneateles back in front 2-1. That didn’t last, either, as David Marshall, amid another net scramble, fit a rebound into the net to pull Cazenovia back even.
And there it would stay, despite numerous chances by both teams to break the tie late in regulation and in overtime. Vecchiarelli, who stopped Major’s slap shot with 1:08 left, finished with 23 saves, while Diamond made sure Cazenovia didn’t prevail by stopping 38 of the 40 shots he faced.
The tie left Cazenovia with 13 points, still behind Oswego and Skaneateles, but still in fourth place in Division II, comfortably within the top six that will eventually qualify for the playoffs.
And it also lessened, to some degree, the pain from an 8-1 defeat to Salmon River, the state’s top-ranked Division II team, Friday night at the IcePlex.
No doubt wanting a bit of payback for losing last year’s state quarterfinal to Cazenovia, a game where the Lakers rallied from a third-period deficit to prevail 4-3, the Shamrocks broke this contest open in the second period with four unanswered goals.
Billy Rankin broke up the shutout in the third period, scoring as Gara and Marshall earned assists. Vecchiarelli earned 27 saves.
With this brutal stretch behind them, Cazenovia got a week to rest before returning to the ice next Saturday, visiting New Hartford.
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