October 23, 2021

Golden Eagles stay focused, win tourney

High School Hockey

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Cortland-Homer’s Nick Djafari, right, looks to pass the puck around pressure from Ontario Bay’s Ryan Mosher during the Golden Eagles’ 6-2 victory on Saturday.

Some members of the Cortland-Homer hockey team talked about not taking opponents lightly after a 4-1 win over Cazenovia Friday night in the first round of the Golden Eagles Holiday Tournament at the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex.

According to their coach, they did just that in beating Ontario Bay 6-2 Saturday afternoon in the championship game. C-H, which won the title for the third time in the last four years, scored twice in the first period and never trailed en route to the victory over a Storm squad that fell to 1-6-1 after the loss.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa was a 6-1 winner over Cazenovia in the consolation game.

Cortland-Homer 6, Ontario Bay 2: “You could tell they were taking (Ontario Bay) lightly by the attitude in the dressing room,” Golden Eagles coach Chad Totman said of his team, which is now 7-2 on the season. “They try not to, but you can tell. In both games in this tournament, the scores should have been even more lop-sided.

“Typically we start off slow, but in the first 10 minutes we were moving our feet and working hard to get goals. After that we started to get out of our system and gave up some breakaways by not playing the system. We played better in the second, but it’s hard to flow with so many penalties (four on C-H and three on the visitors).

“During the two intermissions we jumped on the team to get them to play our system, our game, and to stay away from the chippiness. The third was better, but we’re going to have to play a lot harder against some of the other teams we’ll face.”

Senior forward Jackson Brazo opened the scoring for the hosts 4:40 into the game with his fifth goal of the season, from close range on the left side off assists from junior forward Jake Prunier and senior defenseman Cooper Swartwout. Junior forward Trevor Jubran made it 2-0 with 5:03
left in the first, notching his team high ninth goal of the campaign unassisted from deep in the right wing circle.

Storm senior forward Anthony Guarasce halved the deficit 53 seconds later with an unassisted goal. Junior defenseman Josh Cargen’s first goal of the season on a shot from the right wing circle 3:45 into the middle stanza made it 3-1 for the hosts, sophomore defenseman Nick Gravel with the assist.

Senior forward Mike Turck made it 4-1 in unassisted fashion with his third goal of the season 6:35 into the third. Ontario Bay senior forward Sam Deleel closed out his team’s scoring exactly two minutes later, assisted by junior forward Ryan Blevins and Guarasce.

A four-minute penalty against the visitors with 5:16 left, followed by a minor against them just 27 seconds later, gave C-H a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:30, and Prunier took advantage with 3:55 remaining, putting home a loose puck that sat on the doorstep after a shot by Turck. Prunier then closed out the scoring unassisted with his seventh goal this season, on a breakaway with 22 seconds left.

“We came out hard in the first, then took our foot off the gas a little,” Prunier said.”We talked between periods about going to the net, and it’s something we need to work on. It’s always fun to win a tournament, especially at home, and it definitely sends us into Tuesday (a 7 p.m. home game against Clinton) on a high note.”

Golden Eagles senior goalie P.J. Shager made 18 saves to 26 for Storm senior netminder Austin Bovee, the hosts with a 32-20 shot advantage.

Jubran was named the Tournament MVP while Cargen was named to the first team, along with Bovee and sophomore forward Richard Duvall from Ontario Bay, sophomore forward Evan Loveland from Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa and sophomore goalie Logan Palmer from Cazenovia.

“It was fun, a good team effort which will boost our confidence, and now we have to get back to league play,” Jubran said when asked about his MVP honors.”I’d like to thank my brother Adam (sophomore forward) and Jed Brazo (eighth-grade forward); they’re on the line with me and gave me the puck.”

Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa 6, Cazenovia 1: Five different players scored for the Spartans (4-3-3), who led 6-0 before the Lakers scored on a late power play. Senior defenseman Sam Swingruber had two goals, junior forward Tommy Anderson and sophomore forward Jake Koszelak had a goal and an assist apiece and Loveland and junior forward Miles Grubb each scored once.

BH-BS junior goalie Kyle Grace stayed busy, making 38 saves, while freshman starter Owen Bailey and Palmer made 12 and 22 saves, respectively, the winners with a 40-39 shot advantage.

Freshman forward Max Michaels had Cazenovia’s only goal.