That worked deep into the third quarter, the Mustangs extending its lead to 11-8, but now the Brothers dug in, using goals by Gait and J.R. Zazzara late in that period to make it 11-10, and from that point on it was tense and tight all the way to the end.
CBA's patience was tested. Gait, with his fourth goal, cut the margin to 12-11 with 6:59 left, only to have Tom McNaney answer 13 seconds later. Somehow, the Brothers' defense did not allow anything more, and when Zerillo converted with 3:23 to play, the stage was set for the final drama.
Overall, Mike McNaney scored four times, with Tom McNaney managing three goals and one assist. Kevin Hutchings and Ross Filtch both scored twice, with Ben Powers also getting a goal and Rich Ghezzi earning assist. Many of Lilly’s 17 saves were point-blank efforts.
Marcellus earned this second shot at CBA by virtue of a strong second-half performance in last Thursday night’s opening-round game, where it took apart no. 12 seed Chittenango to erase a shaky start and eliminate the Bears 12-4.
For a brief moment, there was reason for concern. Up 4-1 after one period, the Mustangs saw the Bears charge in the second quarter, cutting the gap to 6-4 as they went to halftime.
From that point on, though, the Marcellus defense got more physical and hostile, turning back every Chittenango opportunity, while Lilly made most of his 15 saves and allowed the attack ample time to work the ball around and get a series of goals to put it away.
Kevin Hutchings, with two goals and three assists, anchored the attack. Mike McNaney had a three-goal hat trick, adding an assist, while Tom McNaney also had three goals. Matt Hutchings got one goal and one assist as Powers, Andrew Henderson and Harrison Cox also scored.