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C-NS hockey ties showdown with RFA, 2-2

Northstars cede playoff top seed to Black Knights

An entire season of build-up, augmented by a further delay caused by weather, added to the buzz that surrounded Wednesday night's ice hockey showdown at Kennedy Arena between Cicero-North Syracuse and Rome Free Academy, the state's top two-ranked Division I teams.

And a whole lot happened - except somebody actually winning the game.

The Northstars and Black Knights ended in a 2-2 tie, which was not the result C-NS wanted. In fact, the tie has now made its path to a first-ever Section III title much more difficult.

All of those concerns were in the future, though, as a large crowd jammed into RFA's home rink, and much of it had nothing to do with the fact that it was Senior Night.

C-NS arrived in Rome sporting that top ranking and an 18-game win streak. Yet it carried one important blemish - a 3-1 loss to RFA way back on Nov. 30, in the season opener at the Twin Rinks.

Despite rising to no. 1 in the state polls, the Northstars found itself with the same amount of points (24) as the no. 2-ranked Black Knights in Division I East. This meant that, in order to finish first, C-NS had to win the rematch with RFA, a game that got pushed back from its original Feb. 1 date due to a winter snowstorm.

It would go back and forth all night. C-NS needed just 3:45 to move in front 1-0 as Danny Rush, from an odd angle on the left side, lofted a shot past the shoulder of RFA goalie Andrew Ross into the top right corner of the net.

Barely three minutes later, it was 1-1, the Black Knights pulling even when Drew DeBlasis executed a perfect wraparound shot that Northstars netminder Alex Johnston could not stop.

Twice in the latter stages of the period, C-NS had breakaways and point-blank shots, only to have Luke Keyes and Nick Schneid miss those chances.

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