GUILDERLAND: Skating with the big dogs

Guilderland hockey coach John DeRubertis makes a point of scheduling tough non-league games at the beginning of the season. He wants to get his team up to speed before it hits the Capital District High School Hockey League schedule.

Every season since we started the program, our goal is to start the season against top teams, take our lumps and then steadily improve, said DeRubertis.

The Dutchmen (0-2) took their lumps at home last weekend, losing to two of Buffalo's finest programs " Kenmore West and Kenmore East. Kenmore West skated to an 8-2 victory over Guilderland Friday at Union College, while Kenmore East fought its way to a 6-1 win Saturday.

"Both of these teams were physically stronger and bigger than us, and it showed," said DeRubertis. "It showed in the way they were able to shrug off our checks and get to the net."

Guilderland did what it could to stay competitive with both Kenmore teams, but it was difficult for the Dutchmen to generate any offense. Against Kenmore West, Guilderland found itself playing defense for long stretches of the game as the Blue Devils peppered goaltenders Brendan Glennon and Michel Alsante with 42 shots.

Guilderland's defense did a better job in Saturday's game against Kenmore East, limiting the Bulldogs to 16 shots through the first two periods. But the Dutchmen still couldn't generate much at the offensive end, even though they had several power play opportunities.

"We need to do a better job of sustaining pressure and getting pucks to the net," said DeRubertis following Saturday's game. "The goal we scored tonight wasn't pretty, but we got the puck to the net."

Guilderland's offense will need some time to gel following the graduation of several seniors from last year's team. Though DeRubertis has several veterans back including Aaron Cahill, Dan Dickinson, Greg Warnken, Anthony Liguori and Collin Burg, his front line is dominated by sophomores and juniors.

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