Camillus Despite its youth, and despite real struggles at different times this winter, the West Genesee ice hockey team is still on the brink of another first-place finish, and again Baldwinsville is chasing them.
The Wildcats outplayed the Bees, 3-1, Saturday night at Shove Park, completing a regular-season sweep in a long-simmering rivalry.
“I thought it was a great high school hockey game,” WG head coach Frank Colabufo said. “There was a big crowd. It was West Genesee-B’ville. I thought they played really well and I thought our kids did too.”
This win allowed the Wildcats to inch closer to winning West Division regular season title. WG (10-3 in league play) has 20 points and only needs one point from its final two games to clinch the no. 1 tournament seed from Division I West.
B'ville started brightly Saturday night, scoring first. Matt Herman’s point blast took a deflection of a Wildcats defenseman and settled into the net at the 5:13 mark.
Instead of building on its lead, though, the Bees struggled to stay out of the penalty box.
“That was huge," B'ville head coach Mark Lloyd said. " (West Genesee) is so strong defensively we don’t get a lead on them often. I thought (the goal) would give us the confidence we need. Then we just lost our composure and I thought gave away two points.”
WG pulled even and went ahead in space of 36 seconds late in the first period. Jake O’Donnell made it 1-1, backhanding a short range shot home. Robbie Michel then completed a rush up ice with a wrist shot high to the top corner.
The second period mirrored the first in terms of penalties, in that there were a lot of them. Lloyd felt the lack of five-on-five hockey hurt his team.
“We wanted to stay out of the special teams game” Lloyd said. “We didn’t want a lot of man-up or man-down. Unfortunately the whole game turned into a special teams game. It played in their favor.”