Boys hockey Lakers win regular-season league title

Skaneateles clinches with late goal, tie at New Hartford

No, it wasn't a win, but it was still good enough.

Skaneateles clinched the Division II boys’ hockey regular season league championship thanks to a 3-3 tie with New Hartford on Saturday afternoon.

The Lakers improved to 11-1-3 in Division II play with one game remaining. That’s good for 25 points. New Hartford (10-3-2) and Oswego (9-3-2) can reach only 24.

“Our first goal was the win the league (and) we did that,” Skaneateles coach Mitch Major said. “We would like to have won. I don’t think I’ll ever say I’ll take a tie, but I’ll take the league championship.”

Skaneateles earned a bye into the semifinals of the upcoming Section III Division II tournament. The Lakers will host the winner of the quarterfinal between the no. 4 and 5 seeds on Feb. 19 or Feb. 20 at Allyn Arena.

The Skaneateles-New Hartford game sprang to life after a scoreless first period. The Lakers took a 1-0 lead on Owen Kuhns’ shorthanded goal. The Spartans scored the next two goals before Sam Clymer tied it. New Hartford grabbed a 3-2 advantage, scoring with just 35 seconds left.

Major was well aware of the result his Lakers needed to clinch the league crown. He said his players weren’t during the second period intermission.

“I didn’t tell them," he said. "But what I did tell them was they would be league champions if they won the third period. Like they have all year, my players responded.”

All through that third period, Skaneateles appiled pressure, and it paid off when Mitchell Jones scored a power play goal with 1:50 left, putting home a rebound of Tyler Strods' shot.

The Lakers pressed hard for the game winner the rest of regulation and overtime, but could not find it. Skaneateles goalie Ethan Kupp (29 saves) made sure the Spartans never got the vital fourth goal.

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