Baldwinsville forward Matt Zandri (22) protects the puck and tries to skate around a Central Square defender in Friday night's game. The Bees had a big weekend, topping the Red Hawks 3-1 as Zandri earned two assists, and going on to upset state no. 3-ranked Rochester McQuaid 2-0 a day later.
In a span of less than 24 hours, a Baldwisnville ice hockey season that was drifting away suddenly got back on track, and in an impressive manner.
The turnaround was capped by a Saturday-afternoon trip to Rochester McQuaid. Completely ignoring the Knights’ 9-1 record and no. 3 Division I state ranking, the Bees played superb all-around hockey and won in a 2-0 shutout.
At the root of this effort was the work of B’ville’s defense. Deep and physical, the Bees’ back line kept using their bodies to interrupt what McQuaid was trying, either with checks or with blocks of Knights shots.
And when those shots did get close to the net, B’ville goaltender Josh Pinard turned all of them away, recording 33 saves for an impressive shutout.
Even with all that, some offense was required. After a scoreless first period, the Bees grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second period, and then tacked on an insurance goal in the final period. It was Ronnie May and Ronnie Bertrand that scored, with Mike Schneid contributing an assist.
What made that effort even more impressive was the fact that the Bees had played the night before, against Central Square, a full effort that resulted in a 3-1 victory over the Red Hawks.
Through the first two periods, the Bees steadily gained control, mainly due to a defense that kept Central Square off the board. Any attack got thwarted, and Nick Harper, the Bees’ other fine goalie, would finish with 23 saves.
B’ville attacked hard on the other end, and only the work of Central Square goalie Keegan Murphy, who had 46 saves, kept it from getting more lopsided.
Still, the Bees led 3-0 after two periods thanks to a well-balanced attack. Griffin Ferrigan and Matt Zandri each gained a pair of assists as Matt Abbott, Garth Gray and Garrett Gray picked up the goals. Matt Colcough also had an assist.
With these big wins secured, the Bees would continue its four-game road stretch at Pulaski and Ithaca this week before a key Jan. 15 clash with Rome Free Academy (currently no. 2 in the state rankings) at Kennedy Arena. B’ville does not return home until Jan. 18, when it plays Watertown IHC.