first_imgJust two victories stand between the Skaneateles ice hockey team from back-to-back state championships.Moving to 22-0-1 on the season, the state no. 1-ranked Lakers rolled past Section VI champion Starpoint 6-1 in Saturday’s regional final at Buffalo State College, earning itself a return trip to Western New York for another state “Frozen Four” appearance at downtown Buffalo’s HarborCenter.The Spartans were playing in the state tournament for the first time and Skaneateles, far more versed in these high-pressure situations, controlled matters from the outset, won 6-1 and again claimed aJ regional title. Just past the midway point of the first period, Jack Henry put the Lakers on the board. Then Garrett Krieger struck twice, the last of them in the closing minute of the period that left Skaneateles in front 3-0.Starpoint’s best chance to rally came in the second period. It pressured the Lakers hard, but all it could get was a single power-play goal, unable to convert a key five-on-three chance right after to reduce its 3-1 deficit as the Lakers’ defense, anchored by goaltender Adam Casper, endured that crisis.Then Skaneateles pulled away late, Cole Heintz scoring to make it 4-1 and Charlie Russell converting just 30 seconds later. Krieger’s goal with 3:25 left finished off a hat trick and provided an ideal clincher. So that means another trip to Buffalo, this time back to the HarborCenter where the Lakers won it all in 2019. Here, Skaneateles will face Webster Thomas (Section V) in next Saturday’s state semifinal at 4:30.And perhaps Whitesboro, whom Skaneateles beat last Monday in the Section III final but took advantage of its at-large berth to beat Rye 4-0 in another regional game, could meet Skanetaeles again in Sunday’s 3 p.m. state title game if the Lakers prevail and the Warriors get through its state semifinal agianst Queensbury.Also a repeat sectional champion and also trying to defend its state title, Syracuse could not match Skaneateles’  success, the Cougasr traveling to Rochester Institute of Technology’s Gene Polisseni Center to face Section V champion Victor in Saturday’s regional final.Unlike 2019, the journey ended here for Syracuse, who never recovered from the Blue Devils’ swift start and saw its season end in a 4-0 defeat.It was Jack McCandless scoring to put Victor on the board early in the first period. Then McCandless converted again at the 10:30 mark and, in the final seconds of the period, McCandless returned to finish off a natural hat trick.Though Syracuse’s defense did a better job of containment the rest of the way, Colin McNamara found the net 9:10 into the second period, and the Blue Devils never let the Cougars’ attack produce anything in response.Victor advanced to Buffalo and the state Frozen Four with Williamsville North, Massena and Bethlehem, who would battle to see who would succeed Syracuse as state champions.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story center_img Tags: ice hockeyskaneatelesSyracuselast_img