Though Syracuse did not score in the final period thanks to the work of B’ville goalie Nick Harper (who had 31 saves), the Cougars also blanked the Bees, too, thanks to a stingy defense and big stops from Sam Walsh, who managed 23 saves.
And this put the Cougars into Saturday’s final against Division II power Oswego, who handled Fulton 6-3 in the other part of the opening round.
Somehow, Syracuse played even better than in its first two games and dominated in all phases of the game, earning a 4-0 shutout of the Buccaneers to earn the first-place trophy.
The attack proved steady, scoring in each period at least once, and again spreading around production. Eccles got a pair of goals, while Laffin and Nate Carr also found the net. Barry, Matt Matro, Collin Thompson and Dan Hodgens each contributed one assist.
Of course, just one goal would prove enough. Against a potent and explosive Oswego offense, the Cougars shut everything down, the defenders deflecting pucks and Walsh turning back all 22 shots he faced.
All of this adds enormous anticipation to Friday night’s showdown between Syracuse and defending sectional champion West Genesee at Shove Park. Like the Cougars, the Wildcats had a 3-0 start last week and claimed a tournament title, winning its own Wildcat Classic.