Cazenovia hockey falls to New Hartford

Benedetti makes 44 saves in 5-1 defeat to Spartans

— Among the 10 teams in Section III Division II ice hockey, Cazenovia was the only one without a defeat through two weeks of the regular season.

All of that changed, though, in Tuesday night’s game against New Hartford at the Morrisville State IcePlex. Struggling from the start, the Lakers never really got comfortable and took a 5-1 loss to the Spartans.

For its part, New Hartford had gone up and down through its early portion of the season, beating Clinton 9-1 in the finals of the Rome Free Academy Tournament on Nov. 30, only to lose 3-0 to those very same Warriors at home four days later.

Here, the good Spartans showed up, much to the Lakers’ ultimate dismay, as it scored late in the first period to go up 1-0. Cazenovia’s defense held firm for a while, but with less than two minutes left in the second period, the Spartans’ margin doubled to 2-0.

That seemed to spark New Hartford as it tacked on three more goals in the final period, the attack led by Grant Romeo, who burned the Lakers for two goals and two assists.

Billy Rankin was able to find the net late in regulation off a feed from Will McCrink. For the most part, though, the Lakers found itself in a defensive mode, the game only made close by the work of goalie Mario Benedetti, who made 44 saves.

About the only good part for Cazenovia (1-1-1) was that it would get a week to shake off the effects of this game before returning to action next Tuesday at Clinton.

A key contest against Oswego follows on Friday before a Dec. 23 meeting with Cicero-North Syracuse and an appearance in the Cortland-Homer Tournament on Dec. 27-28.

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