Without any time to rest, B’ville played again Wednesday night, taking a long trip to the north country and getting jumped on early by Watertown IHC, never able to recover in a 5-3 defeat to the Cavaliers at Fairgrounds Arena.
Before the Bees could settle down, IHC gained a 3-0 first-period lead, and it spent the rest of the game in catch-up mode, never really clicking in its attack until the third period, when it scored twice, but saw the Cavaliers do the same.
Gray led the way with one goal and one assist, while Bertrand and David Eckmann also got goals. Abbott, Schneid, Adam Tretowicz and David Mazurkiewicz had one assist apiece as Harper, settling down from early troubles, managed 23 saves.
And this led straight to the Bobby Conklin Memorial Tournament, which started Friday with the Bees facing the Syracuse Cougars. In good position early, B’ville could not hold on to it, losing its second straight game in a 3-2 decision.
Tretowicz and Gray put in the goals that gave the Bees a 2-1 first-period edge, and assisted on each other’s scoring plays as Bertrand picked up a pair of assists.
Syracuse fought back, though, going in front in the second period as Mitch Laffin, Sean Eccles and Mark Purcell found the net for the Cougars. Harper would build his save total to 31 in the final period, but B’ville could not force overtime, its shots gobbled up by Syracuse goalie Sam Walsh, who earned 23 saves.
This sent B’ville to Saturday’s consolation game against Fulton, who lost 6-2 to Oswego in the other half of the opening round. Here, the Bees needed a good effort – and got it, holding on at the end to beat the Red Raiders 3-2.
All of the goals for B’ville came in the first two periods as it built a 3-1 lead. Pelcher, Abbott and Sean Barron found the net, with Schneid and Tyler Church earning assists.
But even though the Bees took twice as many shots, Fulton goalie Spencer Evans made 29 saves to keep it close, and Fulton nearly caught up late before a defensive stand, anchored by Harper (16 saves), helped B’ville escape with the win. Syracuse won the tournament title, the Cougars shutting out Oswego 4-0 in the championship game.
B’ville would not get much rest despite the work of the opening week, hosting Ithaca on Tuesday before that Friday visit to Kennedy Arena and its sectional semifinal rematch with RFA.