The Shaker/Colonie hockey team was well-versed in playing close games last year. The problem was the Jets were not well-versed in winning close games.
We had a lot of one-goal games that we lost, said Shaker/Colonie coach Steve Hudak. "We're hoping that with an additional year of experience (for the players), we'll turn things around."
The Jets return most of its offense from last year's team including forwards Matthew Vetrone, Ryan Phillips, Corey Brustle and Brian Seniw.
"The biggest improvement is their confidence," said Hudak. "We're definitely a stronger skating team, and we'll be a pretty aggressive team around the net."
Another thing that should help the Jets is that many players have grown in height and weight since last year.
"I'm hoping that maturity and that size around the net will increase our goal scoring," said Hudak.
Goaltending should be another strong suit for Shaker/Colonie with the return of Jim Lanne and Alex Huynh.
"They'll do a good job for us. They've been doing a lot off the season, learning a lot in the summer and fall," said Hudak. "And Alex, I feel a lot more confident in."
The question mark for Shaker/Colonie will be its defense. The Jets graduated several players from the blue line last year, leaving younger players to fill the holes.
"I think defensively we have a decent core, but we will be a bit inexperienced," said Hudak. "We're going to need some time for maturity."
There won't be a lot of time for the Jets to mature. They start their season with a trip to the North Country to face Saranac Friday, Nov. 28, and Plattsburgh Saturday, Nov. 29. One week later, they host Section IX power Monroe Woodbury at the Albany County Hockey Facility.
Still, Hudak said he's hopeful that Shaker/Colonie will climb up the Capital District High School Hockey League standings.
"I look at us being more in the middle of the pack, but hopefully we'll do well," he said.
Shaker/Colonie begins its CDHSHL schedule by playing crosstown rival Christian Brothers Academy Dec. 12 at the Albany County Hockey Facility.""