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.