Coming off a 3-3 tie with Cicero-North Syracuse in a non-league game on Dec. 23, the Lakers looked for some relief when it played in the Cortland-Homer Tournament, the first of two consecutive tournament appearances in as many weekends.
But in Friday's opening round, the Lakers lost, 3-1, to Fayetteville-Manlius, who entered the game with an 0-3-1 mark, but got out to a 2-0 lead through two periods.
With 7:37 left, Cazenovia cut the deficit to 2-1 as Trevor Cross scored off a feed from Billy Rankin, but F-M kept cool and answered four minutes later to restore that two-goal margin.
Garrett DuMond led the Hornets, scoring twice, overcoming 29 saves from the Lakers’ sophomore goalie, Cameron Fry, who started in place of Mario Benedetti.
This led to a dramatic consolation game Saturday against host Cortland-Homer (who had lost to Frontier 4-0 in the other half of the opening round), where Cazenovia trailed late in the third period, but somehow rallied to stun the Golden Eagles 4-3.
Both sides scored late in the first period, making it 1-1 as Will McCrink found the net for the Lakers. After Cortland-Homer took a 2-1 lead early in the second period, Cazenovia pulled even again, 2-2, at the 10:25 mark as Billy Rankin assisted on a goal by Trevor Cross.
The third period, at first, echoed the second, with the Golden Eagles taking a 4-3 lead less than four minutes into that frame, and the Lakers pulling back even, 3-3, with Rankin again offering the timely pass on Colin McGaugh’s power-play goal with 3:41 left.
But the difference here was that Cazenovia, looking to avoid overtime, kept pushing, and with just 50 seconds left in regulation Rankin, picking up his third assist, found Alex Hunt, who beat Cortland-Homer goalie Ryan Gabriel for the game-winner. Fry had 27 saves for the Lakers.