The options for Baldwinsville’s ice hockey team appeared quite stark in last Thursday night’s regular-season finale against Fayetteville-Manlius at Cicero Twin Rinks.
Either the Bees won, and got a first-round Section III Division I playoff home game in the first round as a heavy favorite, or it lost, and would have to go back to the Twin Rinks and meet state no. 1-ranked Cicero-North Syracuse.
Thus, B’ville picked the worst possible time to have one of its worst games of the season, a 7-1 defeat to the Hornets that, at the time, appeared to be quite costly.
“We didn’t show up,” B’ville head coach Mark Lloyd said. “We didn’t compete. We didn’t do anything for 45 whole minutes. We were horrible and the score reflects the game.”
With the loss to F-M, B’ville (11-8-1, 8-6-1) was set to face state no. 1-ranked C-NS in the first round of sectionals, a team the Bees lost to 10-1 back on Dec. 21.
Then, at the last minute, it was discovered that F-M had played 21 regular-season games, and not the maximum of 20 that the New York State Public High School Athletic Association requires.
Thus, Section III had no choice but to rule the Hornets ineligible for the playoffs. That changed most of the Division I bracket, and the Bees, by far, gained the greatest benefit.
Instead of going on the road to meet C-NS, B’ville, now holding the no. 2 seed, hosts Central Square, who despite a 6-13-1 mark is the no. 3 seed from Division I West, on Thursday night at 7 p.m. The winner there will play Rome Free Academy or Cortland-Homer (who took F-M’s place in the playoffs) in the semifinals, with the title game Feb. 23 at Utica Memorial Auditorium.
In that game against F-M, the Bees did keep it close through the first period. B'ville survived two early penalties before senior Parker Ferrigan got a breakaway chance off a deflection 4:08 into regulation.