Even though it worked so hard in the homestretch to make the Section III Division II playoffs, the Cazenovia ice hockey team did not stay there for long.
As the no. 6 seed in a six-team bracket, the Lakers drew an opening-round game last Friday night at no. 3 seed Oswego, and the defending sectional champion Buccaneers were ready for it, never letting the Lakers into the argument in a 6-1 defeat that ended Cazenovia’s season.
They had played twice in the regular season. Both games had ended in ties – a 2-2 draw on Jan. 17 at the Morrisville State IcePlex and a 4-4 deadlock in the regular-season finale Feb. 7 at Crisafulli Rink.
Had Oswego won that game, it would move up to the no. 2 seed and a bye directly into the semifinal round, leaving New Hartford to face Cazenovia. Instead, it was the Bucs meeting the Lakers just eight days after their second tie at “The Fort”, as Oswego’s rink is popularly known.
And the Bucs had no intention of letting Cazenovia hang around this time. Oswego led, 2-0, after one period, and tacked on three more unanswered goals in the second period to make it 5-0.
Only Brendan Whalen’s third-period goal, assisted by Bobby Keever, prevented a shutout. Cazenovia actually took as many shots as Oswego, but could get little past Bucs goaltender Chase Izyk, who finished with 28 saves.
Between them, Cazenovia netminders Mario Benedetti and Ryan McCann had 24 saves, but Oswego solved them often, especially Zach Zerrahn, who poured in three goals for a hat trick, and Sean Mooney, who had a goal and three assists.
The Lakers’ season ended with a record of 7-10-4, and it will see several key seniors, including Keever, Connor Cannizzaro, Connor Race, Jeff Stowell, A.J. Davis, Brad Nardella, Cullen Franz and Joe Colligan depart, leaving a lot of work for the returning players, including Benedetti, Whalen and Jake Stowell, for 2013-14.