continued As this went on, East Syracuse-Minoa’s Dan Lewis was part of the Central regional team that, from Thursday to Sunday, competed in the Empire State Cup at Onondaga Community College.
Started in 2012, the Empire State Cup was designed to provide a tournament similar to that seen in the Empire State Games, which last took place in 2010. So Central, Western, Hudson Valley, Adirondack, Long Island and New York City squads came to OCC, with New York City the defending champions from the inaugural event.
Starting fast, Central beat Adirondack 13-1 on Thursday morning as Cazenovia state championship hero Ryan Cook gathered up three goals and one assist. Later that day, with Cook improving his total to four goals and two assists, Central won again, 14-7, over Hudson Valley,using a 7-2 run early in the second half to break the game open as Mann contributed key face-off wins.
Things began to turn on Friday. Central scored all 10 of its goals in the first half against Western, Cook getting half of them. But a second-half shutout forced Central to hang on for a 10-9 victory, an ominous sign of second-half struggles ahead.
Sure enough, in the fourth game Central took its first loss, 8-3, to Long Island, again unable to find the net in the second half after only trailing 4-3 at the break. Then Central had a 4-1 halftime lead against New York City, but again went into a second-half slump and lost, 6-5, costing it a chance to improve its position for Saturday’s playoff round.
Earning a semifinal spot, Central got a second victory over Adirondack, 10-4. Here, Cook served as a distributor, dishing out four assists to go with his lone goal.
In the semifinals, though, Central dropped a 10-6 decision to Long Island. This time around, a slow start, not a poor finish, doomed Central as it fell behind 8-2 halftime and could not make it all up, despite Cook contributing four goals to give him 12 for the tournament, tops among all individuals.