Feb 08, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
It only figured for the Skaneateles girls ice hockey team that its quest to win the Upstate New York championship would involve multiple overtimes.
That was, after all, the exact same scenario that had unfolded in 2012 and 2013 for the Lakers, who both times lost double-OT decisions to Alexandria Bay that kept them from advancing beyond the Section III tournament.
Now, with the ultimate prize at stake Saturday afternoon at Clayton Recretaion Park Arena, Skaneateles and Section X champion Potsdam would go well beyond regulation – or even two extra periods – in Saturday’s state title game at Clayton.
In fact, the drama played out over four overtimes, and three hours on the ice. And it ended up resolving nothing, the Lakers and Sandstoners finishing in a 2-2 tie and, having given everything on the ice, they walked away as deserving state co-champions.
They played through a scoreless first period before the Lakers went in front, 1-0, on Sarah Sauda’s goal early in the second, a hard shot that Sandstoners goalie Sydney Molnar could not react to until it was past her. Sophie Kush got credit for the assist.
Potsdam tied it, 1-1, late in that period, but this was just the beginning. Working on the power play late in the third period, Skaneateles got victimized when the Sandstoners broke in and scored, short-handed, to take a 2-1 lead. Kallie Grant and Ally Miller scored for Potsdam.
But the Sandstoners’ lead didn’t last long as Claire Michel, picking up a rebound of Sauda’s shot, beat Molnar for the tying goal with 4:19 left. And there it would stay, through the end of regulation, leading to the overtimes.
Late in the first OT, Skaneateles picked up a power-play chance, but could not convert it as the game moved into the second extra frame, and would remain unresolved.
By now, all the players were going all-out, and were tired. So the break to clean the ice before the third OT period gave the Lakers and Sandstoners a much-needed chance to refresh and regroup before the final push.
Yet a third OT period came and went without a resolution. And when the fourth and final extra period ended on even terms, Skaneateles and Potsdam gladly shared the state crown that both of them so desperately wanted for themselves.
As she had done all season, Lakers goaltender Amanda Lupo turned in a sensational effort in the net, stopping 44 of the 46 shots she faced in this marathon. Molnar picked up 28 saves.
All of this was set up by the Lakers’ impressive effort in the state semifinals the night before. Against defending champion Beekmantown, Skaneateles blew the game open in the third period, going on to defeat the Eagles 6-2.
These two teams had met twice in the regular season, splitting a pair of 3-2 decisions. And for a long while, the third and most important encounter was headed in that same direction.
Despite not having a lot of early chances, Skaneateles went in front 1-0 in the first period, only to have the Eagles score three seconds before the period ended. Instead of getting rattled, though, the Lakers again took the lead on Madison Singler’s second-period tally.
Up 2-1 going to the third period, the Lakers saw Beekmantown go on a power play and convert on it early in that frame, pulling even again, 2-2. Lupo would not allow anything else, though, picking up 29 saves and giving her teammates a chance to reclaim control.
And once it reclaimed the lead 3-2, Skaneateles proceeded to overwhelm the Eagles with its depth and add three more unanswered goals in the waning minutes, turning a tight game into an impressive victory.
Singler was the only Laker to score twice. Four others – Sauda, Riley Donahue, Paige Postalwait and Caroline McGuigan – took turns getting goals, while Sauda added an assist. Michel picked up two assists as Allison Weiss and MaryKate McHale got one assist apiece.
Weiss was injured late in the game, but that didn’t faze the Lakers’ defense one bit in the final against a Potsdam side that fought hard to beat Kenmore (Section VI) 2-1 in the other semifinal.
Sauda, McHale and Morgan Matthews had to log more ice time on the back line without Weiss in the lineup, and would be effective, for the most part.
With their efforts, and the efforts of so many others, Skaneateles left Clayton with a share of the state title, its remarkable journey from bitter disappointment to championship glory now complete.