GUILDERLAND: Skating with the big dogs

"We have a mix of players," said DeRubertis. "Our starting defensemen are all seniors, and we have a senior goaltender in Brendan Glennon. To have that experience behind the blue line is invaluable. But, we're young up front."

Still, DeRubertis feels like his team is starting from a better position than last year, when Guilderland struggled through the first month before making a late-season run to the playoffs.

"Believe it or not, we're ahead of where we were last year," he said. "We went out to Buffalo last year and played these same two teams, and the results were even more lopsided."

The Dutchmen get their first crack at a CDHSHL team Friday when they visit Shaker/Colonie at the Albany County Hockey Facility. Shaker/Colonie is also coming off losses to the two Kenmore teams, but the Jets kept the scores close as they fell to Kenmore East 5-3 last Friday and Kenmore West 3-1 Saturday.

Following Friday's game, Guilderland meets Niskayuna/Schenectady next Tuesday at Union College before traveling to the Potsdam Tournament, where DeRubertis said his team will face more tough non-league competition.

"It's good that we get these fast-paced games in early," he said. "It has helped us in the past prepare for the season.""

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