The Guilderland hockey team is hoping that what took place last Friday in Bethlehem doesn't become a season-long trend.
Stephen Russo scored with 30 seconds left in overtime to lift the Eagles to a 2-1 victory over the Dutchmen in the opening round of the Albany County Cup at the Bethlehem Area YMCA.
Guilderland (0-1-0) tied the game on a Dan Dickinson goal with about five minutes left in the third period, but Russo scored off a pass from Eric Halek to give Bethlehem (1-0-0) a victory over its neighbor.
Both teams played hard, said Guilderland coach John DeRubertis. "I knew Bethlehem was a hard-working team, and I knew it was going to be a hard-fought game. We just didn't finish our (scoring) opportunities."
Both goaltenders played well. Guilderland's Michael Alsante stopped 24 of the 26 shots he faced, while Bethlehem's Alex Cooper made 25 saves.
"We had more quality scoring opportunities than they did, but their goaltender was outstanding," said DeRubertis.
Alsante and Dickinson are two of several returning players for Guilderland this season. Forwards Collin Burg, Greg Warnken and Joe Romano are also back, as are junior defensemen Gary Waters, Sean Buzzard, Josh Evans and Jeremy Tobin.
There is a youth factor involved, though. The Dutchmen are carrying only three seniors, which means some underclass-men will have to step up.
"We're pretty young again, but I like the talent level that we have," said DeRubertis. "We have a couple of lines (of forwards) who I think can score goals, but we haven't seen it yet."
Burg, Dickinson and Warnken make up Guilderland's first scoring line, while Romano will anchor the second line which will also feature freshman Mark Knowlton " a transfer from Colorado.
"For a freshman, he's got some nice skills," said DeRubertis. "But this being his first high school season, he has to adjust to the speed of the varsity game."
More adjustments will have to be made at the blue line where Evans and Tobin are making the transition from being forwards to being defensemen.
"Those four juniors (Evans, Tobin, Waters and Buzzard), I'm looking for them to anchor our defense," said DeRubertis. "They're getting their first substantial (varsity) minutes, though."
How quickly Guilderland can make those adjustments will determine where it finishes in the Capital District High School Hockey League.
"You want to teach them what you want to do ... and peak at the end," said DeRubertis.""