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Caz hockey ousted in playoffs by Auburn

Lakers shut out by Auburn, 4-0, as season ends

— Though the Cazenovia ice hockey team did do enough to make an appearance in the Section III Division II playoffs, it did not stay there for long.

The Lakers, as the fourth-place finisher in Division II’s National Conference, had to face American division regular-season champion Auburn in Thursday night’s opening round, and could not get on the board in a 4-0 defeat to the Maroons at Casey Park.

Cazenovia had gone to Auburn a month earlier, on Jan. 10, and lost 3-1, unable to recover from giving up a pair of first-period goals.

Here, the Maroons attacked from the outset, forcing the Lakers into a pair of penalties, but unable to convert on either power play.

Yet Auburn kept pressuring and, at the 9:57 mark, took a 1-0 lead as Jake Orlando, off a pass from Mike Gentile, pushed a shot past Mario Benedetti, who made an astonishing 23 saves in the first period to keep things close.

The string of penalties continued into the second period, Cazenovia rarely able to work at even strength. Eventually, that took a toll as, 3:06 into the period, Sean Lattimore made it 2-0.

By the time the period ended, Benedetti had 34 saves, and the Lakers began the third period with a man advantage, needing something to get back into the game.

Instead, two minutes into that last frame, Billy Farrington got a feed from Brian Franceschelli and put one past Benedetti, stretching Auburn’s lead to 3-0. Orlando connected for a second time with 10:36 left to account for the final margin.

All told, Benedetti had 42 saves, but Cazenovia could not reward that effort, as none of its 20 shots got past Maroons goalie Brendan Entenmann. The Lakers finished its season with a 5-13-2 record.

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