Skaneateles Less than a second of time on the clock separated the Skaneateles boys ice hockey team from a defeat to Cortland-Homer in the first round of its own Duke Schneider Memorial Tournament on Friday.
Somehow, the Lakers escaped that predicament and, by Saturday afternoon, was skating away with the first-place trophy after beating Canandaigua 3-1 in the title game at Allyn Arena.
It was quite a journey, and coming in the wake of a 2-2 tie against Auburn earlier in the week, may serve as a turning point, should Skaneateles end up doing something special later this winter.
Cortland-Homer, from the Division I ranks, proved quite stingy in that opening-round game. Through the first two periods, all of the Lakers' shots were turned away as Golden Eagles goaltender Gage Eldred was on his way to a 29-save night.
Yet the Lakers matched Cortland-Homer's defensive effort until a goal in the second period put the Golden Eagles in front, 1-0. Even when Connor Hill got the Lakers on the board in the third period off a feed from Owen Kuhns, Cortland-Homer maintained a 2-1 lead as Nick Burton and Matt May earned their goals.
As regulation time wound down, Skaneateles pulled goalie Ethan Kupp for an extra attacker. Applying all-out pressure, the Lakers were about to see that effort come up short.
But 0.5 seconds before the horn, Tyler Strods, taking a pass from Hill, poked the puck past Eldred and into the net, tying the game 2-2 and sending the home crowd into a frenzy.
It also sent the game to overtime, which resolved nothing. Skaneateles and Cortland-Homer would need a shoot-out to settle matters.
Through five rounds, each side had only one goal, Kupp and Eldred making four saves apiece. But in the sixth round, the Lakers converted, and the Golden Eagles could not, and Skaneateles was in the finals.