May 13, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Events in the last full week of the regular season left little doubt as to the Skaneateles boys lacrosse team’s role in 2012 – that of a young challenger, not expected to win a Section III Class C title, but capable of surprising people before it’s all done.
That capability was reinforced Friday afternoon, when a late-game comeback pushed Skaneateles into overtime against defending state Class C champion Cazenovia before it took a 9-8 defeat.
Skaneateles was, of course, the last team to beat Cazenovia in April 2011. And when the two sides met this April 17 at Hyatt Stadium, visiting Cazenovia escaped with a 7-6 win.
Despite its 8-7 record, Skaneateles was catching Cazenovia at an ideal time, the hosts coming off a tough, physical game at CBA two nights earlier (won by a 9-6 margin) and going through Senior Day festivities, too.
Combine all that, and it led to a low-scoring first half. A sensational Skaneateles defense, backed up by goalie Ryan Higman (who would finish with 12 saves), prevented any sort of Cazenovia surge.
It went to the third quarter still tied, 2-2. With their teammates bottled up, Cazenovia’s top two scorers, Cannizzaro and Ryan Cook, took over, getting each of the goals in a 4-2 sprint in that period.
Yet even with a 6-4 lead, Cazenovia could not quite hold on. Skaneateles pulled within 8-7 and pushed hard as the regulation clock wound down. With eight seconds left, Nate Scuder fed Steve Bright, who pushed a shot past Trevor Cross to tie it.
Now they went to a four-minute OT period. Cannizzaro, already with four goals and one assist as Cook notched the other three goals, worked around the field until he got the ball back. Then, with 20 seconds left in the OT, Cannizzaro, flashing open, put the decisive shot past Higman.
In defeat, Bright and Connor O’Hara each managed two goals. Brendan Major and Jack Dawley also scored, with O’Hara and Major adding assists.Cazenovia goalie Trevor Cross had 10 saves, two less than Higman.
It was the second straight one-goal defeat for Skaneateles, the trend starting last Tuesday when its comeback attempts against Marcellus fell just short in an 8-7 defeat to the Mustangs.
Back on March 31, Skaneateles beat Marcellus 7-4 in the finals of the Finger Lakes Face-Off Tournament. Since then, the Mustangs had a series of close calls against big-name opponents, including overtime losses to Cazenovia and CBA.
Skaneateles wanted to hand the Mustangs more disappointment. Twice in the first quarter, O’Hara scored off timely feeds from Major, but that 2-0 lead did not hold up as the Lakers got blanked in the second period and were tied, 2-2, at the break.
In the third quarter, it was the Mustangs’ turn to move in front, 4-2, and the Lakers’ turn to rally, as Nate Scuderi and Major put in goals that created a 4-4 deadlock.
However, the Lakers’ own rash of penalties proved costly, Marcellus reclaiming the lead for good 5-4 late in the period and stretching it out to 7-4 early in the fourth quarter.
With fog rolling in, Jack Fabrizio scored twice, making it 7-6, and after Marcellus got another goal Scuderi cut the deficit to one with 1:29 left. Given some chances to force overtime, the Lakers could not convert them.
In goal, Ryan Higman recorded eight saves. Marcellus featured a balanced attack where Dalton Wenzel, Tom McNaney and Kevin Hutchings each finished with two goals and one assist.
Even with these losses, Skaneateles could regain momentum before the playoffs if it could win home games against Westhill and CBA early this week to close the regular season.