Skaneateles In order to advance in the state championship tournament, the Skaneateles girls ice hockey team would need to turn away the challenge of two Section III foes on home ice.
In the first of those tests Wednesday night, the Lakers put together its most complete all-around effort of the season, blowing out the Oswego Buccaneers 7-0 at Austin Park Pavilion.
The seven goals represent the Lakers' biggest goal total of the season, surpassing the five it put up in a win over Massena early this season in a 5-2 victory on Dec. 13.
It also proved a stark contrast to the two games Skaneateles and Oswego played this winter. The Lakers and Bucs tied, 1-1, on Dec. 19 at Austin Park Pavilion, with Skaneateles claiming the rematch 2-0 at Crisafulli Rink a month later.
In this third and most important encounter, the Lakers had no intention of letting the Bucs hang around - and it took just 93 seconds for the hosts to move in front.
Sharp passes from Allison Weiss and Paige Donahue sprung Madison Singler loose on a single breakaway, and the junior moved in the from the right side, but went left and back-handed a shot over the right shoulder of Oswego goaltender Madisyn Whalen into the net.
For the rest of the first period, the Lakers dictated the tempo and stayed patient, waiting for another opportunity. It came at the 12:26 mark when Lynn Copeland pounced upon the rebound of Samantha Kawejsza's shot and converted, doubling the margin to 2-0.
And Skaneateles did not let up in the second period. At the 5:38 mark, it was Paige Postalwait's turn to break into the Oswego end off passes from Singler and Claire Michel, and she delivered a perfect wrist shot past Whalen.
Copeland returned at the 9:21 mark to pounce on another rebound of another Kawejsza attempt, and when Sarah Sauda's wrist shot on a power play found the net three minutes later with feeds from Weiss and Sophie Kush, the Lakers took a 5-0 lead to the second intermission.
To cap it off, Singler converted a second breakaway goal off a perfect pass from Riley Donahue with 11:21 to play and Michel found the net 2:55 later, Donahue and Kush again picking up assists.
Anchored by Sauda and Morgan Matthews, the Lakers' defense bottled up Oswego's attack all night long, and Amanda Lupo only had to make 15 saves.
Skaneateles will meet Alexandria Bay (who beat Ithaca 1-0 in the other semifinal) Saturday at Austin Park Pavilion at 6 p.m. The winner advances to the Upstate New York Girls Hockey final four in Canton next weekend.