Baldwinsville forward Luke Hoskin (16) nets one of his two goals in last Friday’s Section III Division I quarterfinal against Rome Free Academy at Kennedy Arena. Hosking also had two assists as the Bees rallied in the third period to beat the Black Knights 5-3.
All that had gone wrong for the Baldwinsville ice hockey team turned around in a single period, with the entire season on the line.
The no. 5 seed Bees traveled to Kennedy Arena to face no. 4 seed Rome Free Academy in last Friday night’s Section III Division I quarterfinal, and trailed before a well-timed comeback in the third period pushed B’ville past the Black Knights 5-3.
These teams had met Jan. 15 on this same Kennedy Arena ice, with RFA winning 4-1, just one of many setbacks the Bees faced as it lost eight of nine games leading into the playoffs.
Despite this month-long downturn, B’ville still carried plenty of post-season experience thanks to its run to last winter’s sectional finals, which was something the Black Knights could not match.
None of this seemed to matter much early as RFA went up 2-0 before the end of the first period, but it was here that the Bees’ defense took over, blanking the Black Knights in the second to give its attack time to get going.
As the final period began, B’ville trailed 2-1, but the urgency of the moment, and the memories of winning big playoff road games, combined to produce a decisive surge.
B’ville scored four times in those last 17 minutes, and it was spread around, with Luke Hoskin scoring twice, including the go-ahead tally, and adding two assists.
Alex Pompo, Parker Schroeder and Quinn Sweeney also found the net. Braden Lynch served as a key distributor, notching three assists, while Pompo finished with two assists. Sweeney had one assist.
RFA, despite Michael Bostwick’s pair of goals and a goal from Kyle Lubey, could not withstand the Bees’ charge and finished its season at 15-5. Bees goalie Tommy Blais had 19 saves, with Black Knights counterpart Isaiah Nebush earning 30 saves.
In the sectional semifinals Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Meachem Rink, B’ville faces top seed and defending champion Syracuse, another side it lost to during the regular season, by margins of 5-1 in December and 4-0 earlier this month.
The Cougars also beat the Bees in the 2018 sectional final at the War Memorial. That’s where the winner of this encounter will go, too, to face West Genesee or Fayetteville-Manlius Feb. 25 in the championship game.