Dec 21, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Perhaps there are more conventional, and less stressful means, to win a game than the one the Skaneateles boys ice hockey team devised on Friday night in its showdown with neighbor and rival Auburn at Allyn Arena – but none could be more exciting.
In an ending straight out of fiction, the Lakers, trailing the Maroons by two goals late in the third period, closed the gap, tied it with at the end of regulation – and won it, 3-2, when Patrick Major poked in the decisive goal with just five seconds to play.
The long-standing Skaneateles-Auburn rivalry provided enough fuel for the occasion. Adding to it was the fact that the Maroons, with a victory, would tie the Lakers for first place in the Division II American Conference.
Owners of a three-game win streak, the Lakers drew a huge crowd to the Community Center, most of them decked out in white as part of a “White Out” promotion. For much of the game, though, the home fans didn’t have much to cheer about.
Auburn, coming off a 1-0 defeat to Whitesboro two nights earlier, struck quickly against a stunned Laker defense. Goals by Jake Duffy and John Orlando had Skaneateles trailing, 2-0, by the end of the first period. Mike Foltz, Casey Komanecky and Sean Lattimore each earned assists.
And it stayed 2-0 for a long time. Partly that was because the Lakers’ defense, so stingy for much of December, resumed its top form at the start of the second period, turning away everything Auburn threw at them as Jarrett McDonald racked up 22 saves.
Meanwhile, the Lakers took more shots, but were not finding any success, either, as Maroons goalie Mike Currier put together a sensational effort that would lead to 29 saves.
Deep into the third period, the Lakers stared at that two-goal deficit, but somehow stayed patient, not realizing just how much that patience would pay off.
With less than three minutes left, Sam Clymer broke through, putting a shot past Currier to make it 2-1 as Owen Kuhns got the assist. As the game ticked down to the last minute, McDonald left the game, replaced by Kyle Oschner, but soon Oschner was on the bench for an extra attacker.
In the six-on-five situation, Skaneateles threw all kinds of bodies at the Auburn net, and that included Kuhns, who would find the puck and, with 22 seconds left, beat Currier for the tying goal, creating the night’s loudest roar.
Now at 2-2, they would play five minutes of overtime. With all of the momentum, Skaneateles attacked hard, and Devin Callahan thought he had scored the game-winner with 1:55 left, but that goal was disallowed.
But just when it looked like the night would end with each team earning a single point, Major, in the dying seconds, got yet another pass from Kuhns and delivered a goal that did count – and ended it. Callahan, Raymond Falso and Tyler Strods also got credit for assists.
This improved the Lakers’ record to 6-1-1 (4-1 league), and it does not play a game for two weeks until hosting the Duke Schneider Memorial Tournament on Jan. 3-4. Auburn must wait until Feb. 5, and the rematch with Skaneateles at Casey Rink, to try and get payback for this painful defeat.