Skaneateles girls hockey falls in sectional final shootout

Alexandria Bay denies Lakers berth in state final four

— Three periods and two overtime periods were not enough to decide the Section III girls hockey championship between Skaneateles and Alexandria Bay Saturday night at Austin Park Pavilion as neither team could get on the scoreboard.

It was, instead, a shoot-out that would settle matters - and it was here that the Lakers' state title dreams were denied by the Purple Ghosts, by a 2-1 margin.

Despite home-ice advantage, and despite two previous wins over Alex Bay in the regular season, Skaneateles had to watch the Purple Ghosts celebrate a trip to next weekend's state final four in Canton.

Largely, this was a story that turned on the work of two goaltenders - Amanda Lupo for Skaneateles and Kayla Rios for Alex Bay. Both would prove stellar on this night.

Less than a minute into the game, the Lakers had a point-blank shot that Rios stopped, an immediate indication that this would not follow the same pattern as the 7-0 romp over Oswego that Skaneateles put together in the sectional semifinals three nights earlier.

Instead, it resembled the last game between the Lakers and Purple Ghosts on Jan. 7, which was scoreless until the third period, when Skaneateles scored twice and prevailed 2-1. Rios didn't play in the Dec. 5 season opener that the Lakers won 4-1.

All through regulation, Skaneateles could not find open ice against a quick, tough Alex Bay defense. Even when it got a pair of power plays - one in the first period and another late in the third period - it still found difficulty putting together an organized attack.

In between, Alex Bay offered its fair share of chances to break the long 0-0 deadlock. Every time, though, Lupo turned them away, recording 20 saves overall.

By far, the Lakers' best chances to win came in the opening minutes of the first OT period. Five different times, various Laker players had point-blank chances for the decisive goal, only to get turned back by Rios.

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