May 10, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For more than a month, the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team had eagerly waited a second shot at Skaneateles, the only team it lost to in 2011. That eagerness only grew when that other group of Lakers assumed the no. 1 state ranking and kept it throughout the spring.
That’s about to change now.
A combination of face-off domination, inspired work in goal by Ben Romagnoli and timely scoring bursts, especially in the second half, allowed Cazenovia, no. 3 in this week’s state Class C poll, to conquer Skaneateles 17-8 Tuesday on Senior Day at the Sean Goggin Sports Complex.
That first meeting on April 8 in Skaneateles had seen Cazenovia take more shots, yet still lose 10-8. But it left that game knowing that it was more than capable of winning any future encounter, and a month of nine consecutive victories had only reinforced that thought.
Still, the nerves were quite evident early in the rematch as Cazenovia hurt itself with penalties and turnovers and fell behind 2-0. Only Romagnoli’s fine work in the net kept it from getting worse.
Yet once Sean Cannizzaro and Mason Powell converted late in the period to tie it 2-2, everything started to go right, especially in the face-off circle. From start to finish, John Greacen and Joe Nardella mastered the center X, earning Cazenovia more possession time and keeping it away from the potent Skaneateles attack.
Cazenovia took the lead for good early in the second quarter on the first two of Greacen’s five goals. Then Matt Donovan took over as, in a span of less than two minutes, he used a series of nifty moves and fakes to score three times, expanding the host Lakers’ lead to 7-3.
Skaneateles appeared to grab momentum when it scored twice late in the half, including Kevin Rice’s tally at the horn that made it 7-5 at the break and caused a frustrated Romagnoli to break his stick in half, leading to a penalty to start the third quarter.
However, Skaneateles had to deal with a crippling blow when, just before the half, top scorer Paul O’Donnell separated his shoulder trying to make a check on Nardella.
O’Donnell entered the game with 39 goals (eight of them in last Saturday’s win over LaFayette) and 22 assists. Without him, the Skaneateles offense could not do much, as in the third quarter it failed three different times to convert one-minute man advantages.
Slowly gaining confidence, Cazenovia started to put the game away late in the third quarter as Greacen twice converted on hard shots from the point, followed by goals by Connor and Sean Cannizzaro in the last minute of the period. Then Nardella and Greacen struck for goals in the first 27 seconds of the fourth quarter to make it 15-7, ending the suspense.
All told, Connor Cannizzaro had four goals and two assists, with Sean Cannizzaro contributing two goals and two assists. Donovan added two assists to his hat trick as Nardella got three assists and Powell found the net twice. Romagnoli finished with 18 saves.
So ended a memorable seven-day stretch that had begun with the come-from-behind 15-14 overtime win over LaFayette, continued with romps over Jordan-Elbridge and Tully and got capped by this big win over Skaneateles.
Two regular-season games remained for the Lakers, starting Thursday at Westhill, where it avoided a letdown and rolled past the Warriors 19-4.
Right from the first face-off, Cazenovia attacked hard, and kept it going throughout the first half, not stopping until it had a 14-2 advantage and a chance to rest up late.
Greacen proved generous, producing a season-best six assists to go with his three goals. That benefited, among others, Connor Cannizzaro, who scored five times, and Powell, who produced four goals. Alan Baldwin joined Donovan with two goals as Nardella and Sean Cannizzaro each had a goal and two assists. Lucas Dorsey also scored.
All that now remained was Tuesday’s trip to Marcellus, after which the Class C playoffs would determine if the Lakers gained more history with its first-ever sectional title.