Boys hockey Lakers fall to New Hartford

Latest Skaneateles comeback attempt falls just short

— No partisan of the Skaneateles boys ice hockey team got too worried when it fell behind New Hartford in Friday night’s clash of Division II conference leaders at Allyn Arena.

They had all seen this before. The Lakers fall behind, struggle to find any sort of offense, get into deep trouble – and then everything clicks in the third period, a few clutch goals are scored and the home side pulls it out, sending the fans home happy.

And it looked, for a long while, like Skaneateles was weaving some more late-game magic against the Spartans, too, but this comeback attempt would fall short, leaving the state Division II no. 6-ranked Lakers on the wrong end of a 4-2 decision as its seven-game unbeaten streak (where it went 5-0-2) came to an end.

New Hartford, once as high as no. 8 in the state Division II rankings after its 11-1 start, had just lost back-to-back games to CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt (5-2 on Jan. 3) and Auburn (5-3 last Wednesday), and fell to no. 14 in the rankings, needing to stop that skid before it slid behind Clinton in the National Conference standings.

Meanwhile, Skaneateles, who had won its modified version of the Duke Schneider Tournament on Jan. 3 and 5, had seen last Tuesday’s scheduled visit to Clinton postponed by the winter cold.

And when it stepped back on the ice against the Spartans, the Lakers’ early-game struggles surfaced again, as it failed to score in the first period for the fourth consecutive game.

This gave New Hartford plenty of time to establish control – and it did, gaining a 1-0 lead in that opening frame and then nearly breaking it open in the second period, extending the Lakers’ deficit to 3-0. Only Kyle Oschner’s 21 saves kept it from getting out of hand.

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