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Caz hockey falls to Oswego, ties Skaneateles

Lakers stay in good position for playoff berth

Forward Brian Gara (21) prepares to recover a loose puck and tie the game 1-1 in the second period of the Laker showdown, Jan. 19 at the Morrisville IcePlex. The two teams ended the game in a 2-2 tie. So far this season, Gara has logged nine goals for the Cazenovia varsity hockey team.

Forward Brian Gara (21) prepares to recover a loose puck and tie the game 1-1 in the second period of the Laker showdown, Jan. 19 at the Morrisville IcePlex. The two teams ended the game in a 2-2 tie. So far this season, Gara has logged nine goals for the Cazenovia varsity hockey team. Photo by Pierce Smith.

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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