All season long, the Cazenovia ice hockey team had searched for a defining victory, and in front of home fans, it almost happened.
The Lakers welcomed defending Section III Division II champion Oswego to the Morrisville State IcePlex Thursday night, and outplayed the Buccaneers for large portions of the game, even if it only ended in a 2-2 tie.
Trailing 1-0 early thanks to Danny Ryan’s goal for the Bucs, Cazenovia caught up in the second period and pulled even, 1-1. Then, in the final period, the Lakers took a 2-1 lead, only to have Oswego’s Chase Izyk tie it with 6:45 left, and the two sides stayed even through a five-minute overtime period.
Billy Rankin scored one goal and assisted on the other, by Colin McGaugh. Brenden Whalen assisted on Rankin’s tally. Cazenovia took twice as many shots, only kept from prevailing by strong in work in goal by the Bucs’ Chase Izyk, who had 34 saves, twice the total of Lakers counterpart Mario Benedetti.
At least the Lakers faced Oswego coming off a victory. Having not won since Dec. 21 (a 7-0 shutout of Fulton), Cazenovia put a lot of urgency into last Tuesday’s game at Clinton and got rewarded, edging past the Warriors 3-2.
Though far removed from its glory days, Clinton, playing at Clinton Arena, is always a tough assignment, as Cazenovia found out again, squandering a 1-0 first-period advantage.
Goals by Tom Monagham and Austin Bouse helped produce a 2-2 tie going to the third period, but the Lakers inched back in front with a late goal and held on, taking 31 shots to Clinton’s 11.
A.J. Davis, with a pair of goals, led the Laker attack. Colin McGaugh earned a pair of assists, while Connor Race also had a goal. Jeff Stowell and Jake Stowell each had one assist.
Cazenovia will go after first-place Skaneateles Tuesday night at Allyn Arena before returning home Friday to face New Hartford.