December 31, 2011

CHS-Homer can’t secure tourney consolation prize

Staff Writer

Superb individual performances were of little consolation to the Cortland-Homer hockey team Friday night against Cazenovia in the third-place game of its own Holiday Tournament at the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex.
Senior goalie Brandon Paquin made an incredible 50 saves and freshman left winger Danny Turck brought a dormant Golden Eagles offense to life with two power-play goals.
The Lakers, however, had some magic of their own. They erased a 3-0 deficit after two periods with a trio of goals in the third before sophomore forward David Marshall scored 1:49 into overtime to give his team a 4-3 victory.
Frontier claimed the championship of this year’s tournament with an 11-3 win over Fayetteville-Manlius in the title contest that followed. The Pioneers last took home the first-place hardware in 2008.
Cazenovia 4, Cortland-Homer 3: “It was a heartbreaker, but Brandon had a great game and Danny got us off the scoring schneid,” C-H coach Don Armstrong said after his squad had fallen to 2-7-1 overall in its third straight loss and the fifth in its last six games. “We shot ourselves in the foot in the third period with too many penalties; sooner or later it’s going to catch up with you. It’s somewhat disturbing, because it isn’t like we haven’t talked about that. We’ve still got work to do.
“Their number 21 is a good, skilled player,” he added of senior forward Brian Gara, who led Caz with two goals and two assists. “We made mistakes, and he and his teammates capitalized.”
While protecting their lead, the Golden Eagles took three penalties in the third period, two in the span of 55 seconds with the score 3-2 to give the defending Division II state and Section 3 champion Lakers — now 6-3 and winners in four of their last five games — a sterling chance to score the equalizer. The visitors didn’t waste it, junior forward Conor Race putting the puck home from close range off assists from classmate and fellow forward Jeffrey Stowell and Gara.
Marshall netted the game-winner from the slot as junior defenseman Connor Cannizzaro and Gara picked up the assists.
“Cannizzaro got the puck to Gara, and it came to me,” Marshall said of his fourth, and biggest, goal of the season. “I had my stick on the ice in front, in the high slot, and just fired a one-timer hard that snuck by their goalie. We had a lot of shots (40) coming into the third and were down 3-0. We were just looking to put one in.”
Coming into the game, so were the Golden Eagles, who had scored just one goal in their five previous contests, including a 6-0 first-round loss to Fayetteville-Manlius Thursday night. Turck took care of that with his power play tallies.
The first came 4:40 into the contest as he put home a loose puck from point-blank range on the right-wing side, and the second, 2:19 into the middle stanza, came from deep on that same side. Turck’s linemates, senior right wing Aaron Zimmerman and sophomore center Victor McCutcheon, both had assists on each goal.
“I felt that the work our line did paid off off in the (offensive) zone, but I think our whole team lost focus in the third,” said Turck, who now has a team-high three goals on the season and was an all-tournament team honoree. “Once Cazenovia scored, you could sense they were coming on and getting more confidence.
“Now that we’ve finally scored (the three goals are the most C-H has managed in a game this season) we have to put the pieces together. We’ve played good defense, and have to keep doing that. And Brandon played amazing.”
Paquin had an unbelievable 40 saves over the first two periods and added 10 more in the third for his grand total of 50, to 18 for Caz senior netminder Joe Vecchiarelli, keeping the hosts in the game as the Lakers rolled up a 54-21 shot advantage.
“I got off to a strong start, our team recognized it and it made them play well,” Paquin said. “From there we were battling back and forth. The team played well in front of me, but we took too many penalties.
“It was a big loss. I don’t want to say it was a letdown, but we could almost taste the win. I think this will help us be more confident and more determined to do well the rest of the way.”
Freshman forward Matt May scored his first varsity goal 4:46 into the second, putting home a rebound after junior defenseman Mike Lavere took a hard shot from the right side and Vecchiarelli made a stick save.
Gara, who was named to the all-tournament team, got the visitors’ first two goals in the third, the first from close range on the right side off a feed from Marshall 1:50 in and the second unassisted 5:45 in, pouncing on a loose puck with a turnaround shot in the low slot. He now has a team-leading eight goals this season.
“We talked between the second and third periods about not beating ourselves and finishing,” Caz coach Jon Davignon said. “Their goalie is very good and makes the first saves. Any goals were going to be on second shots. We just wanted to come out in the third and play well. Our power play finally did that and took advantage of an opportunity, which we’ve struggled to do this year.”
“The kids gave a great effort,” Armstrong said. “Turck had a great game and Zimmerman does whatever it takes; he’s all heart. McCutcheon showed flashes of what he’s capable of doing. Our four defensemen — Lavere, Matt Condit, Nick Burton and Casey Dailey (all juniors) — did well. I told the kids afterwards that I see a great win coming up somewhere in our schedule, and we’re going to work toward it.”
C-H hosts Rome Free Academy Tuesday in a non-league game that gets underway at 7:15 p.m.
Frontier 11, Fayetteville-Manlius 3: The Pioneers from Section 6 scored six goals in the first period and never looked back in winning the tournament championship and improving to 6-1-1 overall, their only loss in overtime to defending Division I champion Williamsville North. Despite Friday’s quick start, coach Bob Klimowicz saw room for improvement.
“I wasn’t happy with the way we played in the first period,” he said. “We scored six goals, but were very sloppy in the defensive zone, especially giving up a goal in the last second. Our goal was not to allow them to score again, and we accomplished that, which was good. If we’d come out like that offensively last night (in a 5-3 come-from-behind win over Caz) it wouldn’t have been as close a game.
“We passed well, moved the puck well and finished well tonight. We also took the puck to the net. When you do those things, you’ll win games.”
Sophomore forward Jim Gleason and junior forward Bob Piotrowicz had two goals and two assists apiece for Frontier, while senior forwards Greg Smolkovich and Jay Kosmoski scored twice each. Junior forward Greg Evancho had a goal and three assists, junior forward Josh Desing a goal and an assist and senior defenseman Jacob Sawicki one goal for the winners.
The Hornets, now 6-3 overall, got two goals and an assist from sophomore forward Anthony Angello (who had three goals and two assists in Thursday’s 6-0 win over C-H) and senior defenseman Tim Maalouf had the other goal, just before the first-period buzzer.
The Pioneers had a 43-18 shot advantage and got 15 saves from freshman goalie Conner Herman. Sophomore Ben Napierala made 23 saves in the first two periods and freshman Erik Badger stopped nine shots in the third.
Frontier’s Gleason and Smolkovich also made the all-tournament team, as did Maalouf and Napierala from F-M.


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