Feb 19, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Six years since it last reigned over the Section III Division II ranks, the Skaneateles ice hockey team would have to climb through its hungry neighbor and rival to reclaim the throne.
The Lakers will face Auburn Saturday at noon at Utica Memorial Auditorium with the sectional title on the line, the two sides having split their regular-season meetings, each side winning on home ice in vastly different manners.
Skaneateles had done so rallying from behind late in the third period and toppling Auburn 3-2 in overtime at Allyn Arena on Dec. 19. The Maroons countered with a 4-0 shutout at Casey Rink on Feb. 6.
Even their sectional semifinal games on Tuesday night would take different paths. The Lakers never trailed as it went to Crisafulli Rink and took out Oswego by a score of 4-1.
These teams had met in the regular season, but the Lakers’ 4-2 loss to the Buccaneers in the Dec. 4 home opener at Allyn Arena didn’t carry much weight, since more than two months have passed and both sides were vastly different teams now.
Most importantly, Skaneateles was no longer the tentative side that waited to play its best hockey until the latter stages of games, as it had demonstrated with its four-goal outburst that buried Clinton in the opening round on Feb. 15.
Though it didn’t have a similar outburst as it took to the ice at “The Fort”, the Lakers still seized a 1-0 lead in the first period. And when Oswego’s Jacob Oleyourryk got his team on the board in the second frame, Skaneateles countered with a pair of goals to establish a cushion.
One more goal would follow, the Lakers displaying near ideal balance. Four different players – Patrick Major, Raymond Falso, Devin Callahan and Owen Kuhns – scored the four goals, and each of them got an assist, too, with James Motyl and Reece Eddy also making the assist column.
Just as important was the work of the Lakers’ defense, which again proved quite stingy in the post-season cauldron. Back-line players constantly put their bodies in front of pucks to prevent the Bucs from scoring opportunities, and goalie Kyle Oschner only had to make 17 saves.
While all this was going on, Auburn went through a tense semifinal at Casey Rink, requiring two overtimes before Nick Orlando’s goal pushed the Maroons past defending state champion CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt 3-2 and into its first title game in 25 years.
Way back in 1989, Auburn lost that sectional final to Rome Free Academy 8-1. Now Skaneateles hopes to make its long-awaited return just as unpleasant.