What was shaping up as a possible championship push by the Fayetteville-Manlius ice hockey team is at a sudden and unexpected end.
Since it played one more game than the 20 that it was allotted during the regular season, it is unable to compete in the Section III Division I playoffs.
According to Section III ice hockey chairman John Cunningham, the fact that F-M had played that extra game was not brought up until Saturday, a day before the sectional meeting to determine the playoff pairings and game times.
By that time, it was too late. The game F-M made up on Saturday night, a 4-2 defeat to Rome Free Academy at Cicero Twin Rinks, was a league contest, but some RFA coaches noticed that F-M had announced its record as 12-7-1, meaning that it had already played the maximum 20 games allotted by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.
Called to the rink, F-M athletic director Scott Sugar said it had reported one game as a scrimmage, but the opponent had a score sheet that proved otherwise. Consequently, when the sectional meeting took place, Sugar, along with a pair of F-M coaches, self-reported the season-ending violation.
NYSPHAA rules dictate that if a team in any sport plays more than the maximum, it becomes ineligible for the post-season. This has happened a few times before, including a noted case with Holland (Section VI) in 2011 where school officials discovered, too late, that it had played 17 games instead of 16.
In this case, it meant that F-M, who plays 15 games within Division I, was only allowed five non-league games. But it played six, two against Cazenovia and one each against Oswego, Ithaca, Potsdam and Canton, a fact not discovered until just before the playoff meeting.
Cunningham said that it was an unfortunate situation for F-M's players, coaches, parents and fans, who just a few days ago were feeling quite good.