With 11.7 left, Baldwinsville was called for being offsides and Fayetteville-Manlius was holding on to the hope it had and found a way to create an opportunity and a good look at goal, but Nick Papa’s shot went wide, ultimately closing the book on the 8-7 loss.
As Papa wound up to take that shot, the F-M sideline held its breath and soaked in what was happening, and when the shot went wide, it decompressed and realized that the game was out of reach and it was going to fall to the team that knocked it out of the playoffs last season.
Going into the game, both sides had an extra motivation because of that hard-fought battle last May, when the Hornets suffered an overtime loss to Baldwinsville in the sectional semifinals, so there is no question that the two sides gave one another all they had.
That’s what head coach Doug Madden said after the game. Madden stood in front of his team after the loss and said that he was proud of the way that the team played and all the positives that can be taken away from the loss, including the tone that his guys set.
Effort was there, both on the field and on the sideline. The Hornets (1-1, 0-1) were buzzing around the field and played physical, just like the coaches wanted them to do. Early on, whenever a Hornet took a shot, a teammate would back it up so they could keep the possession going, but that changed as the game progressed.
They didn’t do a lot of the little things towards the end. Turnovers, specifically unforced turnovers, broke F-M’s backbone after they scored five straight goals to overcome the 5-2 deficit they faced early in the third quarter.
Those errant passes led to the struggles that F-M experienced. There were a few times in the fourth quarter where F-M turned the ball over and Baldwinsville turned defense into offense, allowing it to outscore the Hornets, 3-0, in the period.
The Hornets had 19 turnovers throughout the cold, wet night, which makes it difficult to win any game, let alone against a hungry Baldwinsville team (4-0, 1-0) with a lot of potential. However, as Madden pointed out after the game, the 10 unforced turnovers are what kept F-M from getting the win
Friday, when they visit Liverpool, the Hornets will have to have a cleaner game if they are going to get the win and Baldwinsville has a road game at Syracuse.