CENTRAL NEW YORK – Both the Cicero-North Syracuse and CNY Fusion ice hockey teams have made it to the last week of the regular season, resolute in thinking that they could both make some noise in the Section III Division I playoffs.
And what happened when those two sides went head-to-head Thursday night at Fulton Ice Arena did little to discourage those thoughts, the hosts rallying to forge a 3-3 tie with the Northstars.
C-NS jumped out to a 2-1 advantage through one period. They then traded goals in the second before Fusion pulled even in the third, seeing Andrew Gabor again put one past Leyton Sullivan like he had done in the first two periods to complete his hat trick.
Trevor Smith shut out the Northstars down the stretch on his way to 40 saves, bailed out by Gabor as five others – Dylan Ling, Evan Haskins, Gavin Rodman, Alex Kirkby and Reilly Biziga – had one assist apiece.
Leyton Sullivan, for his part, had 30 saves, helped in front of him by Andrew Davis scoring twice and Austin Benkoski getting the other goal, assists going to Nate Bustin, Cole Prevost and Chase Mearon.
A game Tuesday night pitted the Northstars against Fayetteville-Manlius, who also use the Twin Rinks as a home ice, but it was C-NS, led by Hayden Scott, emerging on top as it rallied for a 3-2 overtime victory over the Hornets.
F-M led most of the way, establishing a 2-1 margin by the end of the second period as Nico Capriotti and Noah Chen put in the goals, with assists going to Walker Thomson and Tyler Mayne. C-NS battled back, though, tying it in the third and winning it in the OT period.
Scott was responsible for most of it as he scored twice and assisted on the other goal, by Tanner Long, while Davis and Jase Knopp joined Scott and Long in the assist column. Just as he would against Fusion, Sullivan stopped everything he faced in the game’s late stages, ultimately accumulating 35 saves.
CNY Fusion began the week coming off a 7-3 defeat to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake on Jan. 27 where Rodman, Gabor, got goals and assists went to Kirkby, Dan Keegan and Tyler Bertrand.
Now it was Fusion against Cazenovia two nights later at Morrisville State IcePlex, and it turned into an exciting contest where, with early defense and a late-game comeback, the visitors managed a 3-3 tie with the Lakers.
Fusion had just one shot in the opening period to Cazenovia’s 12, but Smith stopped all of them, and after Jack Donlin scored 25 seconds into the second period, Cal Brown countered on the very next shift.
Early in the third, Rhiley Montoya put Cazenovia back in front. Worse yet, on a Fusion power play Shamus Newcomb earned a breakaway for Cazenovia and put it past Smith to make it 3-1 with 5:22 left.
However, a five-minute major penalty by the Lakers put Fusion into a man advantage. With 2:16 to play, a goal by Gabor cut it to 3-2, then, six-on-four after Smith was pulled, Rodman scored with 51 seconds left in regulation.
Neither side would convert in overtime as Bertrand, Haskins and John LaPlante also earned assists and Smith finished the night with 32 saves, more than twice the 14 from Cazenovia counterpart Tucker Ives.