A month ago, the Shaker/Colonie hockey team was in the middle of a tough stretch of games and wondering if it had what it took to get back to the Section II Division I finals.
Following last Friday's 3-0 Sectional semifinal victory over Shenendehowa in Clifton Park, the Jets know they belong.
We are extremely excited, said Shaker/Colonie coach Steve Hudak. "It's funny. At the beginning of the year, we thought we were going back to the finals. Then we hit a lull [in January]. We found out we weren't as good as we thought we were. So, we're actually excited to be there [in the finals] again."
In truth, the Jets (14-6-2) lost to some good teams during the month of January, including Shen and Saratoga Springs. But they needed a spark to regain their confidence.
The spark came in the form of senior goaltender Jim Lanne and the Shaker/Colonie defense. Since the Jets' 3-2 loss to Shen Jan. 29, Lanne has allowed three goals over the last five games including shutout victories over Christian Brothers Academy and Shen in the playoffs.
"What he's done the last two games is he hasn't let the other teams into the game early on," Hudak said of Lanne. "He's playing like a senior, and he doesn't want the season to end."
Lanne came up big early on against Shen (13-7-2). The Plainsmen flew out of the gate, but Lanne made a pair of key saves to take some of the wind out of Shen's sails.
"I didn't want to give them any chance to get in the game," said Lanne.
If Lanne's early saves took away some of Shen's momentum, Brian Seniw got rid of the rest. Seniw received a perfect pass from Joe Chiara to start a breakaway, and he finished it by shooting the puck past freshman goaltender Brian Walter for a 1-0 Jets lead. The game was only 4:09 old.