The strength of any hockey team is found in the center of the ice.
If a hockey team possesses good centers and a good goaltender, that team should do well. If it doesn't, it can create a messy situation.
That's why Niskayuna/Schenectady coach Todd Templeton can be excused for being nervous about his team, even after a 10-0 victory over South Glens Falls in its season opener Nov. 22. With three inexperienced centers and two inexperienced goaltenders, there are more questions about the Mohawks than there are answers.
We're extremely young, said Templeton. "We lost nine kids to graduation. We have a senior and a freshman goaltender, and neither have played much at the varsity level. All three of my centers (from last year) graduated."
To replace the nine seniors from last year's team, Templeton is calling upon a group of eight freshmen and three sophomores to step up to the varsity level and contribute. But, he's not expecting them to carry the load by any means.
"We don't have any big names or a big superstar or anyone who's going to light up the league," said Templeton.
Most of the goal scoring in Niskayuna/Schenectady's season-opening win against South Glens Falls came from a group of veteran wingers. Senior Mike Tenenboym led the 10-goal assault with four goals and an assist, while senior Chris Farah contributed two goals. Defenseman Mike Casey also got in on the action with two goals and four assists.
The question is can the Mohawks continue to score goals as they enter the heart of their Capital District High School Hockey League season? With powerful teams such as Shenendehowa, Shaker/Colonie, LaSalle, Saratoga Springs and Christian Brothers Academy in its division, it may be difficult for Niskayuna/Schenectady to keep up the pace it set in its opener.