Feb 03, 2013 Kris Russell Uncategorized
Despite its youth, and despite real struggles at different times this winter, the West Genesee ice hockey team is still on the brink of another first-place finish, and again Baldwinsville is chasing them.
The Wildcats outplayed the Bees, 3-1, Saturday night at Shove Park, completing a regular-season sweep in a long-simmering rivalry.
“I thought it was a great high school hockey game,” WG head coach Frank Colabufo said. “There was a big crowd. It was West Genesee-B’ville. I thought they played really well and I thought our kids did too.”
This win allowed the Wildcats to inch closer to winning West Division regular season title. WG (10-3 in league play) has 20 points and only needs one point from its final two games to clinch the no. 1 tournament seed from Division I West.
B’ville started brightly Saturday night, scoring first. Matt Herman’s point blast took a deflection of a Wildcats defenseman and settled into the net at the 5:13 mark.
Instead of building on its lead, though, the Bees struggled to stay out of the penalty box.
“That was huge,” B’ville head coach Mark Lloyd said. ” (West Genesee) is so strong defensively we don’t get a lead on them often. I thought (the goal) would give us the confidence we need. Then we just lost our composure and I thought gave away two points.”
WG pulled even and went ahead in space of 36 seconds late in the first period. Jake O’Donnell made it 1-1, backhanding a short range shot home. Robbie Michel then completed a rush up ice with a wrist shot high to the top corner.
The second period mirrored the first in terms of penalties, in that there were a lot of them. Lloyd felt the lack of five-on-five hockey hurt his team.
“We wanted to stay out of the special teams game” Lloyd said. “We didn’t want a lot of man-up or man-down. Unfortunately the whole game turned into a special teams game. It played in their favor.”
It was still 2-1 when the Wildcats iced the game midway through the third period. Freshman wing Ryan McDonald got his stick on the puck in a crowd and managed to send a low shot in with 7:11 left.
Other than that early goal he gave up, WG’s Henry Burns would blank B’ville, turning aside 17 of the 18 shots he faced. Bees netminder Josh Pinard made 18 saves.
B’ville (10-7-1 overall, 7-5-1 league) is locked in a tight battle with Fayetteville Manlius (7-4-1) and Syracuse (7-6-1) for the No. 2 seed and a possible home playoff game. The Bees host Liverpool on Tuesday before facing the F-M Hornets on Thursday at the Cicero Twin Rinks.
All of this had been set up by the Bees’ strong run through January, which concluded last Tuesday with a 5-1 victory over Cortland-Homer.
B’ville was short-handed, playing without Parker Ferrigan, whose game misconduct penalty in the Jan. 24 win over the Syracuse Cougars meant that he had to sit out this game.
Still, the Bees moved out in front, 1-0, and really took over when it scored three times in the second period and stretched out its margin to 4-1, more than the Golden Eagles could overcome due to Pinard stopping 27 of 28 shots he faced.
Garrett Gray, with two goals, led a well-balanced Bees attack. Herman, Ronnie May and Tyler Colcough also scored, while Ronnie Bertrand, Matt Zandri, Matt Abbott, Tyler Weber and Sean Barron each got one assist.
As this went on, West Genesee survived a 2-1 overtime challenge from Fayetteville-Manlius at Shove Park, offering the Bees a hope that it could go to Camillus and prevail this time around – but it could not pull it off.