Camillus Now it's reached the point for the West Genesee ice hockey team where it would only feel right if the season ended on the second weekend in March, at Utica Memorial Auditorium, with a chance at a state Division I championship.
The undefeated (24-0) Wildcats are going to Utica again in the wake of Saturday night's 4-1 victory over Section VI chamipon Niagara-Wheatfield in the Division I regional finals at Shove Park.
This marks the fourth time WG has made it to the state final four in the last five years, and it stands two victories away from the program's fourth state title - which would come in an undefeated season, just as it pulled off in 2010.
Not only that, but the team WG faces in next Saturday's 10 a.m. state semifinal is quite familiar. Suffern lost a 3-2 decision to the Wildcats in the Dec. 3 final of the Wildcat Classic, and figures to be even tougher this time around.
Wildcat head coach Frank Colabufo said that Suffern was missing its top defender in that first meeting and still gave his team all sorts of problems.
"Suffern plays a similar system to us," said Colabufo. "They skate well, are well-coached and well-disciplined."
Of course, WG is a fairly decent team itself, as it showed once more in front of the home fans in Camillus. Anticipation for the game was so high that the stands filled to capacity at least a half-hour before it faced off. Even satellite parking lots and shuttles were needed to make sure all the fans got into the rink.
Once it did start, Niagara-Wheatfield, who had beaten defending state champion Williamsville North 4-0 in its sectional final Feb. 25, kept the game 0-0 for a while. Among other things, the Falcons killed off a two-man advantage WG attained midway through the first period.