Jan 19, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Even with all of its struggles, it’s doubtful that the Cazenovia ice hockey team will miss the Section III Division II playoffs, due to the changes within the leagues.
Just 10 teams play Division II, five in each conference. Of them, the top four will qualify for the playoffs, and the Lakers are firmly entrenched in fourth place in the National Conference since Ontario Bay, at 0-10, still hasn’t won a game yet this winter.
Still, it would help Cazenovia’s cause to get some quality wins, and it had another chance to do so last Tuesday at the Morrisville State IcePlex, but lost 3-1 to those other Lakers from Skaneateles.
At 8-2-2, Skaneateles led the Division II American Conference standings, this despite a tendency to, at times, struggle at the start, as it once went four games without scoring a first-period goal.
That didn’t happen here, though, as Skaneateles jumped on Cazenovia and led 2-0 by the end of the opening frame, continually applying pressure on goalie Mario Benedetti.
For his part, Benedetti settled down and, after the second period, did not allow anything more on his way to 30 saves. But all Cazenovia could muster on the offensive end was Colin McGough’s second-period goal, assisted by Billy Rankin and Will McCrink.
All told, Cazenovia took just 16 shots, with Jarrett McDonald stopping 15 of them. Matt Benson, Reece Eddy and Tyler Strods earned the Skaneateles goals, with Strods adding an assist.
Back on the road Friday night, Cazenovia faced Cortland-Homer (who had just knocked off National Conference leader New Hartford), and found that the Golden Eagles had not cooled off as it rallied late to beat the Lakers 3-2.
Goals by Brendan Whalen and Lucas Bonavita had the Lakers up 2-1 through two periods, with Rankin and Trevor Cross picking up assists. Despite that, and despite 28 saves from Benedetti, Cortland-Homer’s Danny Turck would personally deliver a comeback, scoring the tying and go-ahead goals to complete a hat trick.
A night later, Cazenovia went to Cicero Twin Rinks to make up the postponed Jan. 4 game against Cicero-North Syracuse.
Badly needing to break its skid, even in a non-league game, the Lakers did so, shutting out the Northstars 3-0. It was scoreless until the second period, when Cazenovia found the net twice, tacking on an insurance goal in the final period, just to be sure.
Whalen led the charge, finding the net twice, while Rankin picked up one goal and one assist. Cross, McGough, Bonavita and Justin Hammond also earned assists as Cameron Fry, taking his turn in goal, stopped all 13 shots he faced.
Improving to 3-8-2 with that win, Cazenovia could all but sew up a playoff spot in Tuesday’s visit to Ontario Bay before a Saturday game at New Hartford.