December 31, 2012
Golden Eagles clipped in final
Despite being the host, things didn’t favor the Cortland-Homer hockey team heading into Saturday afternoon’s championship game of the Shut Out Cancer Benefit Tournament at the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex.
The Golden Eagles — once again clad in pink for the event whose proceeds benefited the Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse — had worked late Friday night to beating Fayetteville-Manlius 2-0 in a shootout. That was needed after the two teams had skated to a 3-3 tie through regulation and a five-minute overtime session.
Senior defenseman Matt Condit had received a game misconduct in that win and was ineligible to play Saturday, while sophomore defenseman Clayton Larson (injury) and junior center Victor McCutcheon (prior commitment) were also unavailable.
Most daunting, though, was the title game opposition. Section 6 power Frontier, which had beaten Cazenovia 7-4 Friday night, broke out to a 2-0 lead after dominating the first period and went on to score a 5-1 win for its second straight title in the Cortland event.
F-M was a 7-5 winner over Cazenovia earlier on Saturday in the consolation contest.
“I think the effort that we put out last night carried over,” Golden Eagles coach Don Armstrong said after his team had fallen to 2-4-1 on the season. “It showed some in our play. But Frontier is a great team with three solid lines and a nice, disciplined approach to the game. They have a very good power play and several skilled forwards who have speed and are good with the puck. We had trouble with them.”
As noted, the Falcons, now 7-2, owned the first period, out-shooting their hosts 20-2 and getting goals from senior right wing Nick Ortiz, assisted by junior defenseman Matt Schifferle, 5:14 in on a power play and junior forward Tyler Gaglia unassisted with 5:21 left.
C-H came out strong in the second, however, and halved the lead 4:28 in when sophomore left wing Danny Turck scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season from point-blank range on the left side off assists by junior right wing Zack Cornish and sophomore defenseman Mike Gibbs.
Frontier had a quick answer, though, and regained control as junior forward Mike Gleason scored unassisted just 1:17 later.
“That was the key point in the game,” Armstrong said. “We’d just made it 2-1, then handed the puck over and they got their two-goal lead back.”
The visitors’ Bob Piotrowicz, a senior left wing, then closed out the scoring with a pair of third-period goals. The first came 1:31 in off assists by senior center Gavin Evancho and sophomore defenseman Mike Hughes. The capper was an unassisted goal, Piotrowicz’s team-high 10th of the season, with 3:34 left.
“Evan gave me a nice pass on the first goal, I came across the blue line in alone on the right side and went to the backhand,” Piotrowicz said. “On the second one, they lost the puck and I came in, faked to the backhand and shot it in. We won the Batavia Tournament last weekend, so it’s good to go two-for-two. It will make for a nice ride home, as champions.”
“We dominated so much in the first that I wonder if the kids got a little complacent,” Falcons coach Bob Klimowicz, whose team beat F-M 11-3 in last year’s title game, said of the middle stanza. “But give Cortland-Homer credit; they came out and outshot and outworked us in the second. It was like our kids thought it was going to be easy. It’s never easy. I told them after the first period that one shot could get (the Golden Eagles) back in it.
“Piotrowicz, Ortiz and Evancho are our first line, and they’re all pretty good kids. All our kids look forward to this tournament every year. We’re just finishing up the tough part of our schedule. After next weekend, since Dec. 21 we’ll have played 10 games in 17 days.”
Armstrong’s team, meanwhile, has another back-to-back weekend coming up, meeting host Skaneateles Friday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the Duke Schneider Memorial Tournament before going against either Canandaigua or Williamsville South on Saturday.
The winners had a 31-25 shot advantage Saturday, senior goalie Tom Coyle making 24 saves. Sophomore Tyler Wallace started in the Golden Eagles net and stopped 24 shots over two periods while freshman Ryan Gabriel made two saves in the third.
Representing C-H on the all-tournament team were Turck, who scored had a goal Friday, and sophomore goalie Gage Eldred, who backstopped Friday’s win with 19 saves, plus two more in the shootout. Frontier’s all-tournament selections were Gaglia, who also had a goal and four assists on Friday against Cazenovia, and senior forward Jacob Macchioni, who scored four goals in that game.
Fayetteville-Manlius 7, Cazenovia 5: Senior forward Anthony Angello had three goals and three assists to pace the Hornets (5-2-1), while another senior forward, Trevor Chase, ha three goals and an assist and senior defenseman Thomas Doucet a goal and two assists. Senior defenseman Connor Cannizzaro scored twice for the Lakers (3-5-10), while senior defenseman Joe Colligan and senior forward A.J. Davis each had a goal and an assist and senior forward Jeffrey Stowell a goal.
F-M junior goalie Ben Napierala made 41 saves as his team was outshot 46-28. Caz junior goalie Mario Benedetti stopped 21 shots.
Angello, who scored twice against C-H Friday, represented the Hornets on the all-tournament squad, while Stowell, who scored twice against Frontier Friday, was Caz’s all-tournament pick.
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