In a nine-day stretch, the Syracuse Cougars ice hockey team played five games, waded through two tournaments and nearly upset both of the streaking sides atop Division I East before settling for overtime defeats.
It all began when the Cougars ventured east to the Rome Free Academy Tournament on Dec. 28-29, bent on its own major conquest.
And the Cougars nearly got it in the opening round against the same RFA team that West Genesee lost to a week earlier, pushing the Black Knights to overtime before taking a bitter 4-3 defeat.
What made it more frustrating was the way Syracuse rallied in the latter stages of regulation. Trailing 3-1 after two periods, the Cougars got a pair of clutch goals to tie it, 3-3, and Jim Albright turned away RFA shots on his way to 30 saves for the night.
But the Black Knights got the OT goal that mattered, and Syracuse had to take a tough defeat. Collin Thompson, with two goals, and Jared Ristoff, with one goal and one assist, led the rally as Travis Hyde, Ben Walsh, Sean Eccles, Liam Barry and Mark Purcell all got assists, too. Drew DeBlasis led RFA with two goals and one assist.
In the consolation game that followed, Syracuse beat Brookfield 2-1. Back home at Meachem Rink on Wednesday, Syracuse stumbled again, taking a 9-2 defeat to Cicero-North Syracuse, who extended its own win streak to eight games.
C-NS needed just 3:24 to move in front as Jesse Farabee scored. Then Eric Hamilton dealt a big blow when he notched back-to-back goals just 42 seconds apart to make it 3-0.
Two more goals early in the second period made it 5-0 before Syracuse finally got on the board with Matt Thompson’s goal. That didn’t deter C-NS much, though, as Farabee answered a minute later, fed by Hamilton, to earn his third goal and a hat trick.