Cazenovia hockey faces mid-season struggles

Lakers tie Whitesboro after 0-2 tournament appearance

When the Cazenovia ice hockey team visited Whitesboro on Friday night, it did so needing victories to stay in Division II playoff contention.

But the Lakers did not quite get the task done, starting fast against the Warriors, but stumbling late and settling for a 3-3 tie.

All looked good in the first period. Jeff Stowell, Brad Nardella and A.J. Davis took turns getting goals as Cazenovia roared out to a 3-1 lead. Billy Rankin earned a pair of assists as Jake Stowell also earned an assist.

That would be all, though, as the Lakers kept seeing its shots gobbled up by Whitesboro goaltender Tyler Garcia, who would finish with 25 saves.

For the most part, Mario Benedetti did well in the net, too, making 21 saves. But he surrendered a pair of third-period goals that helped the Warriors catch up and force overtime, where neither side could win it in the five-minute extra period. Kirk Chevier led Whitesboro, scoring twice.

A week before this, the Lakers played in the Cortland-Homer Tournament on Dec. 28-29, where it lost both of its games to temporarily slide below the .500 mark.

In the first round, Cazenovia faced Frontier, from Section VI, and though the attack was sharp, the defense was porous, leading to a 7-4 loss to the Falcons.

Right away, Frontier found the net, and put Cazenovia in a 3-1 deficit by the end of the first period. In the second, the Lakers nearly caught up, but the Falcons held on to a 4-3 edge and got away in the final period with a pair of late tallies.

Jeff Stowell, in defeat, scored twice, while A.J. Davis and Sam Webster had the other goals. Brad Nardella and Connor Cannizzaro each scored twice as Billy Rankin added an assist of his own. Playing in goal, Mario Benedetti and Ryan McCann combined for 25 saves.

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