MOUNT VERNON – There was a moment of possibility after Pelham got back in the game with a second-period outburst, but the Pelicans were unable to deliver another comeback.
The magic simply ran out.
Skaneateles was strong right off the bus and did not flinch when its lead was threatened, posting a 3-2 win in a NYSPHSAA Division II quarterfinal on Saturday at the Ice Hutch.
Reggie Buell unleased a shot 33 seconds into the game that sailed in and caught an overflow crowd by surprise. The hole got deeper for Pelham a short time later. Eddy Reece scored in front with 5:59 gone to make it a 2-0 lead for the Section 10 wildcard.
It nearly became a repeat of last year’s loss to Beekmantown in a regional playoff.
“That’s exactly what we were thinking,” Pelicans forward Ben Hurd said. “We were saying, ‘We can’t let this happen again. We let in two weak goals. We have to bring it back from here.’ ”
It was difficult for Pelham to play its game.
The Lakers (20-3-1) were skilled and smart with the puck. The Pelicans (14-10-1) were finally getting comfortable in the second when a four-minute boarding major with 8:18 to go in the period resulted in a power-play goal from Buell.
Heads were suddenly down.
“There are lots of things you can look at as a turning point in the game, and that was one of them,” Pelham coach Ed Witz said.
Nobody was immune from the negative thoughts.
“It’s the worse feeling, down 3-0,” Pelicans defenseman Lucas Gabow said. “Everyone’s thinking we’re not coming out on top in this game, but after getting the power play, we were amped up and we got those two goals and were right back in it.”
A hooking penalty against Skaneateles lit the fuse in the final minutes of the second period, and that mistake was soon compounded by a boarding major.
Gabow quickly made it a 3-1 game when he played a Nick Davidow carom off the boards perfectly, and Hurd converted a rebound 37 seconds later to get the home crowd back into the game in a big way. There was hope. Pelham had the advantage for two minutes after the third period got under way, but could not find a prime scoring chance.
And there simply weren’t many good looks the rest of the game.
“We couldn’t get possession of the puck,” Gabow said. “They knew how to play the game at the end. … Looking back at the Mamaroneck (semifinal), getting that goal with 20 seconds left, we’re thinking we can do it here, but they just outplayed us, I think, at the end there.”
Scarsdale 3, Massena 2: At Massena Arena in a NYSPHSAA Division I quarterfinal, Scarsdale earned a final four berth for the second year in a row. James Nicholas scored twice in the final minutes of the first to get Scarsdale on top 2-1. Stephen Nicholas extended the lead in the opening minute of the second. Scarsdale net minder Gabe Harousseau was perfect over the last 16-plus minutes, finishing with 22 saves. “It’s an amazing feeling knowing that we’ll be going back to Utica,” James Nicholas said. “Last year’s loss (in the semifinals) hit us hard and we knew we had to prove the doubters wrong. Our whole senior class has booked hotel rooms and we have our whole town behind us. It’s going to be fun having one last shot at the title.” Scarsdale plays McQuaid Jesuit at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday at The Aud.