Facing its most important stretch of the regular season, the Solvay ice hockey team knew that success here could lead to a post-season berth.
As the week began, the Bearcats, with eight points, were tied with Corcoran for the fourth and final playoff spot in Division I West, one point behind third-place Fayetteville-Manlius. And it just so happened that the Hornets and Cougars were Solvay’s next two opponents.
On home ice at Allyn Arena last Monday night, the Bearcats encountered F-M, and a terrific start proved more than enough for a 4-2 victory over the Hornets.
Staging an all-out attack from the start, Solvay took a 2-1 first-period lead. Then, in the second period, the Bearcats got away from F-M with two more goals, making it 4-1, and it would withstand the Hornets’ late push.
Some new offensive threats emerged, as Carmen Gacek scored twice and Cameron Bennett earned one goal and one assist. Tyler O’Mara earned the other goal, with David Graf, Will Downs, David Lilly, Travis Hyde, Peter Lynch, Ben Walsh and Austin Webb earning assists.
Despite goals from F-M teammates Matt McDonough and Anthony Angello, and despite the Hornets getting more shots on the net, Solvay countered with a superb performance from goaltender Ryan Bonk, who piled up 34 saves.
Solvay now went to Meachem Rink to deal with Corcoran, a team it had beaten twice in an 11-day span in December, both of them one-goal decisions, one of them in overtime.
Again, it was close here – but this time the Cougars won a 1-0 grinder, Andrew Jackson netting the lone goal in the first period off feeds from Steve Young and Matt Thompson. Bonk pitched a shutout from there, with 25 saves, but none of Solvay’s 22 shots got past Corcoran goalie Liam Moore.
Corcoran just suffered an 8-1 defeat to undefeated, state no. 1-ranked West Genesee at Meachem on Wednesday night