But despite the blowout wins and high scoring totals, the trio remained humble.
“Anybody can beat anybody on any given day,” Angello said after the B’Ville win. “We’ve still got to go play Central Square like it’s C-NS.”
The gawking smile that spread across the 6-foot-5 Angello’s face standing outside the Cicero Twin Rinks arena that night emitted pure happiness. It matched the one Chase wore after his four-goal performance in a 7-1 win over Syracuse on Jan. 31.
The long-awaited sectional run was about to start. They worked all season long, said Capriotti, and they deserved it.
But the mountainous expectations that built up during the season came crashing down two nights later, when RFA coaches pointed out F-M’s sixth non-league game, which turned out to be a second contest against Cazenovia that the Hornets claimed was a scrimmage, but was not.
The Hornets self-reported the infraction and later appealed the ruling, but as Capriotti stood in the lobby of Twin Rinks before practice last Wednesday, it was clear hopes for readmission into the playoffs were low.
Half an hour later, Brown called the team together on the center of the Olympic rink. Hornets players clad in green, yellow and red jersey skated over as the venue fell silent. All that could be heard was the occasional tap of a stick hitting the ice while the second-year coach addressed his team.
F-M’s appeal was denied by Section III earlier that afternoon, extinguishing the final flames of hope the Capriotti, Angello and Chase held onto. It’s likely that was the news Brown was delivering, though F-M tried the next day to appeal to a State Supreme Court judge, with similar results.
Now the Hornets players continue to practice. Sectional title or not, Capriotti said he, Angello and Chase will spend as much time together as possible until the end of the year.
“I don’t think we’re ever going to want this to end,” Capriotti said.