Niskayuna turned up the offensive pressure after Hughes' second goal, but goaltender Dan Maddock and the Bethlehem defense denied the Silver Warriors time and time again. In one instance, Maddock dove to block a Jake Johnson shot that was destined to enter the lower right corner of the goal.
"For a sophomore, the kid is playing fantastic," Ridgway said of Maddock, who finished with seven saves. "He's a very good shot blocker."
Hughes put the game out of Niskayuna's reach with 6:55 left in the second half. After watching two Silver Warriors play a long pass, Hughes stole the ball, sprinted past a Niskayuna defender and launched a shot past Citrinitti to complete his hat trick.
"Austin found the opposite side of the net, and he was very composed out there when he had the shot," said Ridgway.
"We fell asleep in the back," said Ormsbee. "We let him have spaces he shouldn't have had. Credit him for taking advantage of his opportunities."
Kevin Wendth capped Bethlehem's victory in the 78th minute with his fifth goal of the season.
Niskayuna will have another shot at Bethlehem Friday when the two teams meet in Delmar.
"They're going to be very angry (about the 4-0 loss), and they're going to come out fighting," said Ridgway. "You can never count Niskayuna out."
"We've got to do a better job of opening (their defense) up," said Ormsbee. "We need to see if we can get them to come out and play (the ball)."
Prior to Friday's rematch with Niskayuna, Bethlehem has a score to settle with Blue Division leader Shenendehowa Wednesday in Clifton Park. The Plainsmen " currently ranked No. 1 in the state " defeated the Eagles 2-0 last month.""