ALBANY Less than four hours prior to Saturday's Albany Devils home game, the Times Union Center opened its doors to a pair of Capital District High School Hockey League teams.
Christian Brothers Academy and Guilderland/Mohonasen dueled inside the American Hockey League arena, with the Brothers pulling out a 6-4 victory.
"I kind of take it for granted because I've been in this arena several times before," said CBA coach Jeff Fraser. "It's something special [for the players]. It's just a really good experience for the guys."
"The facility was tremendous in the way they treated us," said Guilderland/Mohonasen coach John DeRubertis. "They had the pre-game introductions of the players. They had their faces up on the big screen [center ice videoboard]. It was great."
The game was a see-saw affair. CBA (2-2-0 league, 2-5-1 overall) built a 4-1 lead in the first period, only to see Guilderland/Mohonasen (0-3-0, 0-4-1) score three times in the second period to tie the game.
"The wheels fell off the wagon [in the second period]," said Fraser. "I think they were overconfident coming off the three-goal lead. You could see that complacency coming over them."
"That was probably our best period of hockey through five games," said DeRubertis.
CBA regained the momentum in the third period, though. The Brothers consistently moved the puck into Guilderland/Mohonasen's defensive zone -- even when faced with killing off a penalty midway through the frame.
"We put a passive forecheck on them in the third period to cut down their passing lanes, and it worked well," said Fraser.
Still, CBA didn't regain the lead until Evan VanEpps scored his second goal of the game with 6:32 left in the third period. Drue Chriskos sent a lead pass up to VanEpps, who broke in ahead of the Guilderland/Mohonasen defense and shot the puck past goaltender Nigel Simmons.