A full week had passed for the West Genesee ice hockey team since it had turned back Rome Free Academy’s stern challenge in a 1-0 overtime classic on Jan. 17 at Shove Park, a game decided by Nick Mellen’s end-to-end rush and goal in the extra game.
Those seven days gave the 15-0 Wildcats ample time to rest, recuperate, and work at practice on what wasn’t working, especially on the offensive end, where things had gone rather quiet, WG not getting more than four goals in any of its past five games.
So perhaps it wasn’t a surprise that the Wildcats would emphasize that attack when it returned to action Friday night at Shove Park, burying Fulton with plenty of goals as, by an 8-0 margin, it blanked the Red Raiders picked up its fifth consecutive shutout and ninth overall this winter.
No single outburst was needed, just steady and relentless pressure as WG scored twice in the first period and three times in each of the next two periods, accumulating 41 shots to Fulton’s eight.
Granger Sasso led the way for the Wildats, earning the first three-goal hat trick of his varsity career, while Collin Kobuszewski piled up a career-best four assists.
Corey Raaflub scored twice, while David Procopio managed a goal and two assists. Aaron Jones had a pair of assists as Mellen and James Shephard earned single goals and Steve Anderson also picked up an assist.
As this went on, the Syracuse Cougars, who get another shot at WG this Wednesday at Meachem Rink, went to Ithaca and survived a back-and-forth battle with the Little Red, prevailing 6-4.
Both teams scored twice in each of the first two periods, the pace dizzying as Ithaca’s Nate Walker earned a hat trick to make it 4-4. But Syracuse shored up its defense in the final period and kept Ithaca off the board, Sam Walsh making several key stops as he finished with 24 saves.
Sean Eccles got his own three-goal hat trick to lead the Cougars, with Pat Farrell getting one goal and one assist. Dan Donahue and Conrad Skrupa earned the other goals, with Nate Carr earning a pair of assists. Dan Hodgens, Colby Skrupa and Collin Thompson had single asssits.