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F-M hockey players saddened by playoff ouster

Hornets were ruled ineligible for playing 21 games

This was going to be their year — Mateo Capriotti had waited 14 years for it. Finally, this would be his chance to line up with lifetime rink mates Trevor Chase and Anthony Angello and deliver a Section III Division I championship to the budding Fayetteville-Manlius program.

F-M cruised through the regular season 13-7-1 and appeared to wrap up the No. 2 seed from Division I East with a 7-1 win over Baldwinsville on Feb. 7. After a seemingly meaningless contest with East division power Rome Free Academy two days later, the red-hot Hornets would be opening sectionals against Central Square last Friday night.

But for Capriotti, Chase and Angello the dream ended there. F-M was disqualified from postseason play at the Section III coaches meeting that Sunday for scheduling one too many games.

“It was pretty devastating,” Capriotti said of the team’s reaction when coach Sean Brown delivered the news on Feb. 9. “No one knew what was going on. We were all kind of surprised and didn’t know what to do.”

The Hornets played 21 games instead of the state-mandated 20. With 15 of the 20 contests set by a block-based league format, F-M just scheduled one too many non-league tilts.

Now Chase is graduating, Angello is transferring and Capriotti is left to wonder what could have been. The group that grew up playing youth hockey together, minors, Syracuse Stars and Syracuse Junior Stars is being disbanded before it even had a chance to punctuate all those years spent together on the ice.

Coming off a two-win campaign in 2010-11, F-M won its first-ever postseason game last year, a 7-4 rout of Cicero-North Syracuse in the first round of the Division I playoffs.

But Capriotti played on the second line that season as senior Cooper Holick lined up with Chase and Angello. This year was their chance to reunite.

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