New Hartford – Thursday’s ice hockey showdown between the state’s No. 2 and No. 6-ranked teams in Division II lived up to its billing.
But it did not settle who is better.
Reece Eddy scored a power play goal with 1:09 left in the third period to lift Skaneateles into a 3-3 tie with New Hartford and that’s the way things ended after one overtime period. The senior forward also scored early in the game to help the Lakers take a 2-0 lead on their sixth-ranked host, but NH battled back in a wild, well-played game.
“Ninety-five percent of the game we played good,” NH coach Carson Cunningham said. “(It was) a couple of mistakes here and there, and penalties. We shot ourselves in the foot.”
Skaneateles (5-1-1, 10-2-1) had a decided edge at the start of its showdown. Reggie Buell and Eddy scored less than a minute apart midway in the first period to lead Skaneateles to a comfortable lead. Eddy’s goal off a brilliant pass from Buell, who was on the ice when he sent it to his teammate.
Things could have been worse for the Spartans (4-1-1, 9-3-1) before the period ended, but the penalty killing on a Lakers power play was solid and goalie Tyler Hansen made a handful of saves before intermission.
The hosts used a two-man-up power play goal by James Holmes early in the second period to halve the Lakers’ lead. NH needed to kill off a four-minute penalty midway in the period. Thanks to gritty defense, especially by Holmes, Alec Bard and Jordan Romeo, and Hansen’s saves on shots by Ray Falso and Devin Callahan, NH did. Falso just missed a goal during the flurry as he had a shot go off the crossbar.
A dramatic goal by Nic Ronan with 1.4 seconds left in the same period made it a 2-2 game and gave the hosts momentum heading into the last period despite Skaneateles having a 29-16 edge in shots at the time.
The Lakers had no edge at all when play resumed as Bard forced Bennett Morse to make a save and the Lakers goalie stayed busy turning aside more shots seconds later. The senior had no chance on a goal by NH’s Jack Engdahl with 1:30 to play. Jack Burns had a pass to help set up the score for the hosts, but Evan Strassberger’s was even better as he also earned an assist with a pass while on the ice.
The Spartans kept up the pressure for most of the period and even had a power play with 3:30 to go. But the Lakers killed the penalty well then NH was whistled for holding and 22 seconds into the power play Eddy knotted the game off passes by Falso and Matt Benson.
NH had a great flurry of offense early in the OT session but two centering passes by Bard went for naught and the teams settled for a tie.
“This was one of our bigger tests,” Cunningham said. “The kids skated hard.”
Hansen finished with 30 saves and Morse had 27.
Skaneateles 2 0 1 0 – 3
New Hartford 0 2 1 0 – 3
Skaneateles (5-1-1, 10-2-1): Reggie Buell 1-1, Reece Eddy 2-0, Adam Lupo 0-1, Ray Falso 0-2, Matt Benson 0-1. Saves – Bennett Morse 27.
NH (4-1-1, 9-3-1): James Holmes 1-0, Garrett Mahoney 0-1, Alec Bard 0-1, Nic Ronan 1-0, Jack Engdahl 1-0, Evan Strassberger 0-1, Jack Burns 0-1. Saves – Tyler Hansen 30