Through the first two weeks of the hockey season, Christian Brothers Academy has been building a reputation as a scrappy team that will give any team a challenge.
Defending Section II Division I champion Saratoga Springs found that out last Saturday at the Albany County Hockey Facility. The Blue Streaks needed a late goal by Tom Naples to edge the Brothers 3-2.
CBA (1-2-1) came in with a decided disadvantage in terms of roster size. The Brothers have only 17 forwards and defensemen, leaving first-year head coach Jeff Fraser with only three lines to rotate in.
“Certainly, the other teams have deeper rosters,” said Fraser. “But what I would say is that what we lack in numbers, we make up for in grit and tenacity.”
The Brothers showed that throughout their first meeting with Saratoga (3-1-0). They played the Blue Streaks to a scoreless draw in the first period and tied the game twice when Saratoga took the lead before Naples tallied the game winner.
Saratoga grabbed its first lead when Nick Winters scored midway through the second period off an Alex Luse assist, but Chris O’Keefe tied the game for CBA with 25 seconds left in the frame. Naples scored 1:24 into the third period to put the Blue Streaks ahead 2-1 before Dean McMahon scored off a Sean Glennon pass midway through the period.
CBA goaltender Dakota Smith did his best to give his team a chance to win the game. The sophomore from Saratoga Springs made 37 saves before Naples scored his second goal of the game.
Fraser said that Smith – who has been sharing the starting goaltender duties with Kyle Stockman – specifically wanted to play against Saratoga.
“I felt he was physically and mentally ready to play in the game,” said Fraser. “We’re working Dakota very hard on his focus because besides the physical aspect, you have to stay in the zone mentally.”