continued From that high point, the Hornets cooled off, and Liverpool, for the bulk of the second half, probed for opportunities, but rarely could find the net and make the Hornets sweat.
So when Clay Arnold scored with 2:55 left to stretch F-M's margin back to 10-5, it was only natural for F-M fans to start thinking about West Genesee and its trip to the Dome. The Hornets' players may have thought that way, too, and if so, that was a big mistake.
Refusing to let go of the Class A sectional crown it earned a year ago, Liverpool began its resurrection when Jamie Kuppel scored with 1:44 left. Then the Warriors won the ensuing face-off, and Peter Flood converted 24 seconds later, and suddenly it was 10-7.
Again, Liverpool gained the face-off. Again, it converted, and not only did Justin Renk's goal make it 10-8 with 39.7 seconds to play, a Hornet penalty after the goal gave the Warriors a man-up situation and possession of the ball without a draw.
Peter Sterio took full advantage and, with 23.8 seconds left, fired it past Brian Bedell, cutting F-M's once-healthy lead to one. Incredibly, the Warriors claimed the ensuing face-off and, in the waning seconds, had a chance to force overtime.
One more time, Liverpool worked the ball around, but Pulver forced a turnover, and the ball bounded toward midfield as the horn sounded and F-M could breathe again.
And once it captured that breath, the Hornets could turn its attention toward ending its two-decade sectional championship drought against the one opponent most responsible for prolonging that drought.
F-M met West Genesee twice in the regular season, winning by margins of 6-4 and 9-7. None of that will matter, though, if the Hornets don't prevail in the third encounter on the grand stage of the Carrier Dome.