December 30, 2009
Tourney title drought ends
CHS-Homer tops Auburn in final, 4-1
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland-Homer’s Carl Zimmerman (6) takes a shot against Auburn goalie Steve Komanecky in the first period of Tuesday’s Holiday Tournament title game. CHS-Homer skated to a 4-1 victory.
The first line helped the Cortland-Homer hockey team win its own Holiday Tournament for the first time in a while Tuesday night.
Senior left wing Chris Broyles had two goals, junior right wing Casie Garrison a goal and three assists and senior center Carl Zimmerman a goal and an assist as the trio accounted for all of the Golden Eagles’ scoring at the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex’s Suit-Kote Arena in a 4-1 win over CNYSHL Division I Auburn.
The victory gave the hosts their first championship in the event since 2003.
“The first line has surprised us,” C-H coach Don Armstrong said, his CNYSHL Division II West team now 8-1 overall on the season. “We didn’t know they’d mesh quite like they have. Those three seem to belong together. Carl has great speed, Casie is a great puck-handler and Chris is a great finisher who complements the other two.
“We try to match them against the opponents’ first line, and tonight because of that so much of the play was in our offensive end, Not only did we generate offense but the best defense we could have as well, keeping them bottled up,” he added.
The Maroons, now 5-4, were so completley stifled on offense that they only had any momentum for about six minutes the entire game. That happened after senior forward Matt Festa scored his team-high 11th goal of the season off a rebound 1:56 into the third period to cut Cortland-Homer’s lead to 2-1. The Golden Eagles then had to kill off a penalty, which started things back in their direction along with some key saves by sophomore goalie Brandon Paquin.
It was Broyles who ended the suspense when he scored from close range on the right-wing side, Garrison assisting on a play that saw a number of players from both teams frantically jostling for the puck at the side of the visitors’ net.
“I was surprised that it went in,” Broyles said of his second goal of the game and sixth of the season in only his second contest back after having missed two games due to a concussion. “I roofed it. Casie and Carl helped out. We knew we needed another goal.”
Broyles opened the scoring 3:43 into the game, backhanding a loose puck past Auburn senior goalie Steve Komanecky off an assist from Garrison, who also assisted on Zimmerman’s ninth goal of the season with 5:26 left in the second. Garrison closed out the scoring with 2:27 left with his eighth goal of the season off an assist from Zimmerman.
“WE SCRIMMAGED Cortland-Homer before the season, as we do every year, and knew that they had a lot of good players and a first line that’s hard to skate with,” Auburn coach Mike Lowe said. “No matter who we put out there against them they weren’t good enough to skate with those kids.”
That pre-season scrimmage gave the Golden Eagles some confidence heading into Tuesday’s contest, according to Armstrong.
“Whenever you go against a Division I team you’re a little more concerned about whether you can keep up with their pace,” he said. “Our kids came away from the scrimmage feeling that they could match Auburn’s speed pretty well. It helps to have a little knowledge of your opponent, especially in a close game. These kids play well when games are close, and we’re going to need that from here on out.”
The winners had a 28-18 shot advantage, Paquin making 17 saves to 24 for Auburn senior netminder Steve Komanecky, who made the all-tournament team along with teammate Brandyn Morgan, a senior forward. Zimmerman and senior defenseman Correy Gibbons were C-H’s all-tournament selections.
Cortland-Homer leads the league with a 6-1 record, with Skaneateles right behind at 5-1 (6-2 overall). The Lakers visit C-H at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
“That will be a big test. The team’s confidence level is high after these two games,” said Armstrong, the Golden Eagles a 3-2 overtime winner over Frontier Central from Section 6 on Monday night. “Hopefully we can recharge and be ready; the kids feel good about themselves, and we came out of the tournament healthy.”
As for the long-time-coming tournament title, Armstrong said: “The kids talked about it. Making it to the final was a pretty good achievement, and as the game developed they focused more on playing well to achieve it.”
“We knew it had been a long time since Cortland-Homer had won it,” Broyles said. “This is going to definitely boost our confidence for Saturday’s game.”
Cazenovia 3, Frontier 2: In Tuesday’s consolation contest, junior forward Sam Lewis scored his second goal of the game with eight seconds left to settle the issue as Cazenovia, which had lost to Auburn 5-3 Monday night, shaded Frontier 3-2.
Junior defenseman Sean Cannizzaro had a goal and an assist for the winners, now while junior forward Mike Edwards and senior forward Matt VanWagnen scored once each for the Falcons, now 5-3. Edwards and Cazenovia junior defenseman Joe Nardella were both named to the all-tournament team.
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