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WG hockey ties Syracuse, clinches top seed

Wildcats' 1-1 decision secures Division I West title

— Ryan McDonald sent a power-play face-off back to defenseman Robbie Michel, who promptly fired a low wrist shot toward Albright that Jones tipped in at the 3:33 mark.

“As far as giving up the first goal we’ve been down before,” Colabufo said. “We knew we could come back. We just had to get back to playing our game and making better decisions.”

Both teams generated some scoring chances in the third period, but Burns (17 saves) and Albright (22 saves) were not in a giving mood. Syracuse had the best overtime opportunity, but Matt Thompson’s vicious slap shot clanked off the post.

“It was a great high school hockey game,” Colabufo said. “It was a great atmosphere. A playoff atmosphere.”

Purcell liked the way his team played throughout.

“When we played West Genesee early in the year we were able to win, but we weren’t able to get any sustained pressure on them,” Purcell said. “Today we did a better job for three periods.”

The Wildcats closed its regular season schedule on Saturday with a 4-0 shutout of Liverpool at Greater Baldwinsville Ice Arena.

In a game twice pushed back by winter weather, WG waited until the second period to get on the board, but then scored two times in each of the last two periods as its defense held the Warriors to 14 shots.

Four different players – McDonald, Aaron Jones, Derek Farrell and James Shepherd – had the four goals. Michel and David Procopio both got two assists, with Farrell and Tom Hanley adding single assists.

WG hosts Watertown IHC Friday night at 7:30 in the Division I quarterfinals, with the winner to get the Cougars or Cicero-North Syracuse in the semifinal round. The title game is Feb. 23 at Utica Memorial Auditorium.

How the Cougars moved up to a no. 3 seed was a story in itself. It turned out that Fayetteville-Manlius, who finished second in Division I West, played one too many games, 21 instead of the allowed 20. That disqualified the Hornets from post-season play.

Thus, Syracuse is the no. 3 seed playing at C-NS and Cortland-Homer moves into the playoffs as the no. 4 seed with a game at RFA. B'ville, beaten 7-1 by F-M last Thursday, got the biggest break of all, going from a road trip to C-NS to a home game against sub-.500 Central Square.

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