Skaneateles Just a month ago, the Skaneateles girls ice hockey team was a big question mark, especially in its search for players who could put the puck in the net.
Now, though, the Lakers are on a serious roll, having won seven in a row, four of them in the last seven days, capped by Thursday night's impressive 4-1 victory over Oswego in a first-place showdown at Austin Park Pavilion.
Head coach Mike Major said that the season started to turn around when his players started to listen more to what the coaches were saying, which translated to better play on the ice.
"The girls have done everything we've asked," he said. "They're all buying in to what we are doing."
Part of what Skaneateles is doing is buzzing around an opponent's net and taking advantage of its many scoring chances. In just the last week, the Lakers outscored its four foes (Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Alexandria Bay and Oswego) by a combined margin of 19-1.
And it all culminated against Oswego, the Lakers' closest competition in the Section III division, with an effort that featured timely strikes and plenty of sound defense.
Right away, the defensive part was established as Skaneateles held the Buccaneers to five shots in the first period. Even when Oswego picked up a power play, it could not get anything past Amanda Lupo, who was aiming for her fourth consecutive shutout.
With 1:01 left in the period and the game 0-0, the puck drifted out from Sarah Schnorr's stick to the right wing, where defender Sarah Sauda flung a wrist shot past Bucs goalie Maddie Whalen to put the Lakers up 1-0.
Sauda said that she intended to shoot low, as her coaches wanted, but that when Whalen went low, she aimed her shot high - and connected.