The Shenendehowa hockey team has the talent to compete for a fifth consecutive Section II title.
But as evidenced in last weekend's Shen Hockey Classic, the Plainsmen have some work to do in the discipline department.
Shen defeated Clarkstown North 5-2 in Friday's opening round, but penalties cost the Plainsmen in a 5-1 loss to Wil-liamsville North Saturday.
In Saturday's game, Shen (3-2) scored less than a minute into the second period to close the deficit to 2-1, but a series of penalties snuffed out the Plainsmen's momentum. Williamsville North tacked on a goal midway through the second period and added two more late in the third period to put the game away.
That was a little frustrating, but that's part of the game, said Shen coach Juan de la Rocha. "The guys have to learn that they must stay disciplined in order to beat teams like that."
Justin Kochan and Pat Mulvihill scored first period goals to give Williamsville North a 2-0 lead. Kyle Hunter tallied off an Adam Hitchko pass 33 seconds into the second period for Shen, but Andrew Saint scored on a breakaway at the 7:57 mark to help the Spartans regain their two-goal cushion.
Mulvihill scored his second goal with less than four minutes left in the third period, and Tom Goehrig added a goal with 1:24 left to seal Williamsville North's victory.
"They're a very good team," said de la Rocha. "It wasn't a 5-1 game, but we didn't play well enough to keep it close the whole way."
Shen also got off to a slow start in Friday's game, but the Plainsmen scored two goals in the second period and added three more in the third period to pull away against Clarkstown North.
"We played a good game, especially from the middle of the second period on," said de la Rocha. "Everybody came together."
Hitchko recorded a hat trick including the go-ahead goal 5:29 into the third period. Mitch Dewein and Nate Palmer also scored goals for the Plainsmen.
De la Rocha said he's hoping that his players learn from their efforts at the Shen Hockey Classic as they head into the heart of their Capital District High School Hockey League schedule.
"I think there's definitely potential, but we're far away from earning that (Sectional) title," he said.""