A couple of factors were working against the Cortland-Homer hockey team Friday evening as it faced Cazenovia at the J.M. McDonald Center in the first round of its own Golden Eagles Holiday Tournament.
After the two teams scored 49 seconds apart in the first period, the hosts dominated play but, through two periods, couldn’t get the go-ahead goal. The fact that C-H came into the game at 5-2 overall to the Lakers’ 2-5 also played a part.
“I think we took them a little lightly,” said Golden Eagles’ eighth-grade forward Jed Brazo, whose fifth goal of the season, on a power play 1:08 into the third period, broke the tie and proved to be the game-winner in what ended up a 4-1 Cortland-Homer win. “There was lots of tension in the locker room and on the bench when it was tied and we couldn’t score, but once we rallied things got more positive.”
“Before the game we thought we’d walk over them,” junior goalie Brandon Ludwig said after making 29 saves, the winners with a 33-13 shot advantage in the game. “Once we got on the ice and couldn’t score despite dominating, frustration set in. Once we got the second goal we settled down and played our game.”
C-H was to face Ontario Bay, a 6-5 shootout winner over Section 2’s Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa in Friday’s first game, for the championship at 1:30 p.m. today after the 11 a.m. consolation contest.
Asked about the combination of one-sided stats and a lack of scoring, Golden Eagles coach Chad Totman, whose team improved to 3-1 in Section 3 Division II National Conference play with the win, said that “I was more concerned about us getting in trouble with penalties, which would give them momentum and take away our energy.”
Instead, that was what happened to the Lakers, who slipped to 1-5 in the Division II American Conference. What started as some shoving by a player from each team in front of the Cortland-Homer goal as the horn sounded to end the second period escalated after another Laker joined in, resulting in two roughing minors on the visitors to C-H’s one.
That gave the hosts a power play for the first 1:30 of the third period, and Brazo scored from 10 feet out on the left side with 22 seconds left in the extra-man situation. The assists went to his linemates, junior Trevor Jubran and his brother Adam Jubran, a sophomore.
“Trevor got the puck to me from the back door and I went top-shelf and scored,” Brazo said.
“We didn’t get enough shots on goal,” Cazenovia coach Seth Howard said. “That’s been our Achilles heel all season. We haven’t scored more than two goals in a game this season. Normally we come out slow, but we played well in the first tonight and played an even-up second. Then they got their second goal on the power play.
“Our goalie (sophomore Logan Palmer) played well. He’s been our best player all season, and has seen a lot of pucks. We’ve had a frustrating couple of weeks, but the team is responding.”
Palmer made 29 saves in the contest.
The Lakers opened the scoring with 6:54 left in the first period, junior defenseman Trey Schug scoring from high between the circles off an assist from sophomore forward J.D. Speer. It took the Golden Eagles just 49 seconds to get the equalizer, Trevor Jubran scoring from the slot off of assists from Brazo and his brother Adam Jubran.
C-H had a 13-5 shot advantage in the first period and upped the advantage to 21-10 after the second. Once the hosts had the lead, sophomore defenseman Nick Gravel made it 3-1 with his first varsity goal. assisted by junior defenseman Josh Cargen and Trevor Jubran, with 6:23 left. Sophomore forward Nate Evans closed out the scoring with his first varsity goal, assisted by senior defenseman Cooper Swartwout, 4:25 before the final horn.
“We can’t take Ontario Bay lightly,” Ludwig said. “They beat a pretty good team in a shootout. We have to play the full 45 minutes; we didn’t do that tonight.”
“We’ve played Ontario Bay many times,” Brazo said. “I hope we don’t take them lightly; we usually do.”
Ontario Bay 5, Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa 4, SO: Senior forward Jack Ryan and senior defenseman Anthony Guarasce scored in the shootout for Ontario Bay while senior goalie Austin Bovee allowed one goal, by freshman forward Owen Grabb, in three BH/BS attempts for the Storm, now 1-5-1 overall.
The Spartans (2-3-2) led 2-0 after he first period and 3-0 in the second before Ontario Bay closed the gap to 3-2 heading into the third, when it outscored BH/BS 2-1 to tie the game. The shootout came after a scoreless five-minute overtime period. The result was technically a tie for both teams, the shootout played to see who advanced in the tournament.
Ryan and Guarasce each had a goal and an assist in regulation for Ontario Bay while sophomore forward Richard Duvall and senior forward Sam Deleel had one goal each. Bovee made 28 saves, his team outshot 32-18 in regulation.
Grabb and sophomore forward Evan Loveland had a goal and an assist apiece in regulation for BH/BS, sophomore defenseman Grant Rice and sophomore forward Connor Cecala with one goal each and junior goalie Zack Maddalone with 14 saves.