Auburn A whole lot was on the line when neighbors Skaneateles and Auburn had their latest ice-hockey showdown Thursday night at Casey Park, most notably first place and a possible league title in the Division II American Conference.
Yet what the Maroons had going for it was something the Lakers could not match - home ice, a large home crowd cheering them on, and revenge on the mind.
All of these factors came into play, especially in the decisive second period, when Skaneateles saw a scoreless duel turn into an Auburn surge that, this time, the Lakers could not answer, leading to a 4-0 defeat.
Everyone on both sides remembered what had taken place Dec. 20 at Allyn Arena. In that game, Auburn carried a 2-0 lead deep into the third period, only to see the Lakers roar back and tie it in the waning minutes of regulation and then win it 3-2 seconds before the overtime period ended.
So as the Maroons bounced back from that disappointment and back into league title contention, it had not forgotten the pain of that defeat and eagerly awaited the rematch with the Lakers, who entered the game no. 10 in the state Division II rankings.
After a 24-hour postponement Wednesday's large snowstorm, things cleared up a night later. It was Senior Night for Auburn, so pre-game festivities marked the occasion before the first-place showdown could commence.
When it did, neither side could break through in a fast-paced, 0-0 first period with few whistles. Skaneateles took eight shots to Auburn's six, but none of them got past Maroons goalie Brandon Entenmann, and the Lakers couldn't capitalize on the lone penalty in that period.
Fueled by that stop, Auburn went on the power play early in the second period and, at the 5:19 mark, took a 1-0 lead as Danny Entenmann found the net off a feed from Mike Gentile.