A trio of lopsided home victories, including a 7-0 destruction of normally powerful West Genesee on Nov. 25, had shown everyone that the Skaneateles boys ice hockey team had the talent and skill to do something special this winter.
What was unknown, though, was whether the Lakers had the grit, tenacity and resolve to deal with an adverse situation, all things it had to deal with twice last week when it was pushed to overtime, but was able to escape without defeat.
First, Skaneateles traveled last Tuesday night to the McDonald Sports Complex to face Cortland-Homer. Trailing the Golden Eagles for most of the night, Skaneateles dug in and, during the third period, made a stirring comeback, getting it to overtime, where it remained unresolved at 4-4.
Cortland-Homer was, like Skaneateles, undefeated going into the game and clamped down early on defense and found the net twice in the first period, going in front 2-0. Then it answered when Skaneateles got on the board in the second period.
Trevor Jubran had a pair of goals, with Jed Brazo and Nick Gravel getting one goal apiece. This, plus superb work in goal by Brandon Ludwig, had Cortland-Homer in front 4-2 going to the third period.
But all the pressure the Lakers were putting on Ludwig took enough of a toll that it managed to pull back even in the third period. By then, Colin Weeks had scored twice, with Luke Lynn and Cole Heintz also netting goals.
Owen Van Holtz and Bauer Morrissey both got two assists as single assists went to Charlie Russell, Tom Coyne and Ryan Gick. Between them, Chris Falso and Adam Casper made 29 saves.
The game went to OT, and though Skaneateles had most of the chances to win it, Ludwig turned them back, running his total to 47 saves.
Another big challenge for Skaneateles would come Thursday night, when it ventured west to face Rochester McQuaid. Again, the game went beyond regulation, but this time the Lakers won it, edging the Knights 6-5.’
In this instance, Skaneateles led 4-2 through two periods and were on the other side of a comeback, McQuaid rallying to even 5-5 and send it to an extra period despite Garrett Krieger’s three-goal hat trick for the visitors.
The last goal went to the Lakers, though, as Gick, off a feed from Lynn, slid in the game-winner, his second of the night. Heintz had one goal and one assist as Morrissey accumulated three assists. Russell and Charlie Major had two assists apiece. Cam Lowe also had an assist.
As if all this wasn’t enough, the Lakers now have back-to-back games against both reigning Section III champions on the road, going to Casey Park to face rival Auburn next Tuesday night and then, on Friday, meeting Division I sectional champion Syracuse at Meachem Rink.