A unique season awaits the Liverpool ice hockey team, who started play on Thanksgiving weekend with tournament action in the Buffalo area.
The Warriors went 3-17-1 a year ago, earning just two wins against Division I opponents. That was a far cry from the days where Liverpool was a perennial contender, having won a Section III title as recently as 2006.
Two new challenges awaited the Warriors in 2011-12. First, the glut of Division I teams after last year’s realignment has led to a split of the 13-team league.
Liverpool is part of Division I West, along with defending champion West Genesee, Baldwinsville, Solvay, Corcoran, Fayetteville-Manlius and Cortland/Homer. Division I East is composed of Cicero-North Syracuse, Central Square, Ontario Bay, Hamilton, Rome Free Academy and Watertown IHC.
The other big challenge for the Warriors is a new venue. Having moved out of State Fair Coliseum, Liverpool now will have its home games at Greater Baldwinsville Ice Arena in Lysander.
Before that, though, Liverpool first had to go through a pair of games at the Amherst Pepsi Center in suburban Buffalo, where it would start on Friday with a 2-0 shutout of Geneva.
It was scoreless until the second period, when the Warriors got on the board. It tacked on an insurance goal in the third period as Nick Bittel and Eric Miller found the net. Dalton Horton and Kody Gaulke added assists as Daniel Wu was superb in the net, turning away all 26 shots he faced.
Liverpool had a more difficult time on Saturday, falling to Amherst 7-2. In reality, the first period decided matters as the host Tigers scored five unanswered goals.
Jordan Iannolo notched both of the Warriors’ tallies in the second period, with Bittel and Horton earning assists. Wu again finished with 26 saves.
League play for the Warriors starts on Friday, against Central Square at the Cicero Twin Rinks, before back-to-back games in Lysander against Baldwinsville (on Dec. 6) and F-M (on Dec. 9).