Leading off today:
Another year, another long and painful exit from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association hockey playoffs for West Genesee.
Since rolling to the 2010 Division I championship with an unblemished record, the Wildcats have experienced three excruciating exits from the playoffs.
In 2011, the Wildcats lost to Williamsville North 2-1 in the fourth overtime of the state quarterfinals. A year ago, they bowed out to Suffern in the semifinals in a shootout after playing to a 2-2 tie through four overtimes.
And on Saturday it happened again. McQuaid's Jack Hildenbrand redirected a shot from the point into the net 2:03 into the third overtime, sending the Knights past West Genesee 3-2 in the quarterfinals at Thomas Creek Ice Arena.
Hildenbrand's tipped shot came after a blast from the point by Jared Tallo, who scored at 13:18 of the second period on a power play to tie the score 2-2.
In the semifinals next Saturday in Utica, the Knights will play Massena, a 3-1 winner over Monroe-Woodbury.
In the other half of the bracket, Saratoga ousted defending champion Suffern 3-2 and Niagara-Wheatfield rolled past Ithaca 5-1.
The top Division II news came from Lake George, where John Jay Cross River continued an impressive ascendency into the ranks of the elite in its state tournament debut by defeating Queensbury 4-2.
Jack Grimm’s empty-net goal with five seconds to play wrapped up the victory. John Jay seized the momentum in the second period on goals from Shawn Smith and Mark Leprine less than a minute apart.
John Jay's semifinal opponent in Utica will be St. Lawrence, a 3-1 winner over Webster Thomas. Larries sophomore Luke Peets played only three shift Saturday, but his wrister found the short side of the net with 1:34 to go in the second period for what held up as the winning goal.
Peets' line was only on the ice because coach Mickey Locke needed to give his top two lines a break after they had skated hard through an unsuccessful power-play opportunity.
“Our job is to trap ‘em and don’t get any goals scored against us," Peets said. "They don’t expect us to score. If you would have said I would have scored the game-winner to me this morning, I would have said you were nuts.”
In the other half of the Division II bracket, Syracuse CBA/J-D -- fresh off its first Section 3 championship in 32 years -- eliminated West Seneca West 4-2 as Ryan Durkin scored a pair of early goals.
CBA will play Beekmantown, which had a first-round bye.
State swim meet: The home-water advantage served some Section 5 swimmers well at the Webster Aquatic Center.