The Cortland-Homer hockey team took two-goal leads twice against visiting Cazenovia in Thursday night’s Section 3 Division II first-round playoff game.
The Lakers came back and tied the game both times.
Then the Golden Eagles, who won the DII National Conference title this season, went up by two goals again by scoring twice late in the second period. This time they made it stand up through a scoreless third in what ended up a 6-4 win for coach Chad Totman’s team.
It was also the third win for C-H over Cazenovia (fourth in DII American) this season, but winning the first two didn’t make things any easier, according to Totman, whose team, now 16-4-1, is ranked third in this week’s Division II state poll.
“Both of our previous games were tied going into the third period,” he said. “You know that every game is going to be a battle in sectionals. You get kids who know that it could be their last hockey game ever, and give it some extra energy.
“Cazenovia uses a different system than anyone else. They blow two forwards out of the zone to force the defense off the line; icing the puck and hoping one of those forwards can get to it first, instead of working the puck down. We put a guy up high to accommodate that.”
Mike Turck had a hat trick to pace the winners, Trevor Jubran with a goal and an assist while Jed Brazo and Cooper Swartwout each scored once. Cortland- Homer goalie P.J. Shager made 17 saves to 39 for the Lakers’ Logan Palmer as the winners piled up a 45-21 shot advantage. Cazenovia closed the season at 5-15.
Turck got the scoring started 6:58 in, putting the net behind Palmer from on front off assists by Jake Prunier and Jackson Brazo. Just 1:43 later, Jed Brazo made it 2-0 with his 12th goal of the season on the rebound of a shot by Adam Jubran, who in turn had gotten the puck from his brother Trevor Jubran. Cazenovia scored two power-play goals to tie the game, J.D. Speer with the first 4:19 before the end of the period and Trey Schug with the second with just 45 seconds before the buzzer.
Trevor Jubran scored his 24th goal of the season 2:11 into the second after his brother Adam won the draw and got the puck to him. It took just 3:38 for the Golden Eagles to take their second twogoal lead, Turck scoring unassisted after coming wide from behind the net. The Lakers were up to the challenge again as Chase cross scored at the 7:30 mark and Gannon Houghton tied it at 3:44.
The eventual game-winner, Turck’s third of the game and 18th of the season, came with 2:01 left in the middle stanza when he controlled the rebound of a shot by Jackson Brazo and put the puck low between Palmer’s pads and in. Cooper Swartwout’s eighth goal of the season closed out the scoring with eight seconds left in the second on a feed from in front to the backside by Jonathan Frederick.
The third period was scoreless. “I think both teams were a little worn down,” Totman said. “We were down some players due to illness and injury, and it was good to see us pull through even though we were a bit short-handed. Mike had a great game; he really stepped up for us. He’s a grinder and a hard worker. It really pays off to have a guy like that.”
The Golden Eagles will host Clinton (12-7-2) in the Division II semifinals, tentatively set for at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Warriors, who finished third in the National Conference this season, scored a 5-2 first-round win Thursday night over Whitesboro, the American Conference runner-up and ranked 12th in the state. C-H beat Clinton in both of the teams’ regular-season games, 7-4 at home on Jan. 2 and 2-1 at Clinton on Jan. 26.
National runner-up Auburn (13-6-2), the state’s 10th-ranked DII squad, was a 6-2 winner over Oswego (third in American) Thursday to earn a berth in the other semifinal against the winner of tonight’s game between host Skaneateles, at 14-4-1 ranked sixth statewide and the DII American champion, and New Hartford (6-13-1), the fourthplace National squad.