Hockey Lakers tie Auburn, 2-2

Neighbors, rivals share another closely-fought classic

Against the other top contenders in Division II, the Skaneateles ice hockey team has yet to win, but it's getting closer.

The Lakers and Auburn battled to a 2-2 tie Wednesday night in a Division II hockey game played in front of a big crowd at Allyn Arena.

“It was a typical Auburn-Skaneateles game,” Lakers coach Mitch Major said. “It was a good old rivalry game.”

A near capacity crowd inside the Skaneateles Community Center added to an electric atmosphere.

After a scoreless first period, Auburn got in front midway through the second period. A long range Maroon shot went wide but bounced back to the opposite side of the Lakers goal. Jake Orlando was the first to it, and slotted home a shot to an unguarded net at the 7:10 mark.

Skaneateles wasted little time getting even. Barely a minute later, Josh Kuhns took a pass from Mitchell Jones and zipped a shot past Maroon goalie Jeff Gardner, and it was 1-1.

Just two minutes later, the hosts held a 2-1 lead. Jones won a draw in the Auburn zone and flicked the puck to Connor Hill, who redirected the puck to Tyler Stanton, and Stanton blasted a slap shot through a crowd, and past Gardner.

Skaneateles couldn’t add to the lead and the Maroons took advantage midway through the third period. Orlando worked his way around the Lakers net, sent a pass in front, and watched teammate Mike Foltz score from close range with 7:01 left in regulation.

From there Gardner and Skaneateles goalie Ethan Kupp took over, especially Gardner. The Maroons' junior stopped eight third-period shots and four more in the overtime period. Overall, the Lakers out-shot Auburn, 30-18.

“I thought we finished strong,” Major said. “Anytime you get a point you’ll take it. When you’re at home you’d like to take two points. You’re not going to win them all. I liked the effort from the players. They came prepared and so did Auburn.”

Maroons coach Mike Lowe liked earning a point, too.

“As usual it was a great game,” Lowe said. “It was a hard fought battle (with) a lot of emotion. I knew we had to work hard defensively to keep (Skaneateles) at bay.”

The Lakers return to the ice Friday afternoon to host Cortland-Homer at 5 p.m. The game is the opener of the Duke Schneider Memorial Tournament. Canandaigua and Williamsville South play the nightcap. The consolation and championship games are scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

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