What started as a sweet, emotional story turned more remarkable and improbable as the post-season went along.
And by the time the CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt ice hockey team was done on Saturday, it had achieved its first Section III Division II championship in 32 years, having knocked off defending champion Oswego 4-3 in the title game at Utica Memorial Auditorium.
"These guys have worked so hard, and I'm proud of them," said Scott Firman, whose two goals proved so crucial to the Brothers' victory.
Not since 1981, when CBA was still an all-male school, had the program won a hockey title. And it wasn't supposed to have a great chance this time, either, as the no. 5 seed in a six-team Division II playoff field.
But then CBA/J-D went out and won 3-2 at Auburn in the first round, survived triple overtime to stun top seed Skaneateles 4-3 in the semifinals, and capped it off by erasing a deficit late in the third period to upend Oswego by that same score.
"To do it the way we did is truly amazing," said head coach Mike McKie.
Given how emotional and theatrical this playoff run was (and given that this is the weekend that they hand out the Oscars), it only figured that the final act had a Hollywood-like feel.
CBA/J-D and Oswego were tied, 1-1, late in the third period when the Buccaneers appeared to gain the upper hand as, at the tail end of a power play, the Brothers could not clear the puck out of its own end and Jake Anderson scored to put his side up 2-1.
At that moment, McKie called his team's only time-out. "I just wanted to kill their (Oswego's) momentum," he said. "I told the players that we had plenty of time."
More than enough time, as it turned out, for Anderson committed a penalty and, seconds later, Braeden Doust deflected Sam Mueller's shot from the point past Chase Izyk, and it was tied again, 2-2, with 2:34 left in regulation.