Jan 31, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
After charging its way into the Section III championship game that it will play on its home ice, the Skaneateles girls ice hockey team found itself waiting for its most important contests of the season.
Heavy snows near Lake Ontario early this week caused a long delay in the Section III semifinal between Oswego and Alexandria Bay.
Originally set for Wednesday, the Buccaneers and Purple Ghosts now will face off Monday night, and the winner there Lakers in Tuesday night’s sectional final at Austin Park Pavilion at 7:30.
In that game, a spot in next weekend’s state final four at Clayton Recreation Park Arena is on the line as the champions from Section III, VII, VI and X will gather up north to determine a state champion.
Due to the delays, the Lakers would have to wait nearly a week to find out who it would face in the sectional finals, though it did give them a chance to rest following a crowded stretch that, including the playoff opener, featured four games in a six-day stretch.
Ironically, the sectional semifinal game Wednesday night at Austin Ice Pavilion pitted Skaneateles against the same Ithaca team it had beaten 6-0 just three days earlier in the regular-season finale.
But the rematch went the same way as the Lakers, following some early worries, pulled away to beat the Little Red 5-1.
All looked fine when, less than three minutes into the opening period, Madison Singler scored off a feed from Grace Schnorr. But even though the Lakers kept the puck in Ithaca’s end most of the time, the Little Red tied it, 1-1, at the 9:45 mark.
And It stayed even through most of the second period, too. Despite taking 23 shots to Ithaca’s four, the Lakers simply could not convert, as post-season nerves translated into nervous attempts that could not find the target.
Those nerves dissipated, though, when Lynn Copeland, off feeds from Claire Michel and Sophie Kush, scored with 1:42 left in the second period, giving Skaneateles the lead for good.
Settling down, the Lakers would make it 3-1 as Allison Weiss converted with 12:37 left. Riley Donahue tacked on a pair of late goals to double the eventual winning margin.
Lupo only had to make seven saves as Weiss, Sarah Sauda, Marykate McHale and Morgan Matthews rarely allowed Ithaca many scoring chances after its early tally.
Weather pushed back the other Section III semifinal between Alexandria Bay and Oswego until Thursday night,
That first game with Ithaca was the Lakers’ third in less than 48 hours, following a weekend road trip that included a loss to Beekmantown and a victory over Salmon River. But the depth of the Skaneateles roster allowed it to overcome possible fatigue and control the game from start to finish.
Abbie Kuhns, in particular, flourished against the Little Red, scoring twice and adding a pair of assists. Paige Postalwait and Caroline McGuigan each had one goal and one assist, while Michel and Copeland also found the net. Donahue, Matthews, Singler and Schnorr also earned assists.