Alex Luse breaks loose in Sectional final

When Alex Luse gets loose, good things happen for the Saratoga Springs hockey team.

The junior forward scored twice to lead the Blue Streaks past Shenendehowa 3-2 in last Thursday's Section II Division I championship game at Union College.

It was the second consecutive Sectional title for Saratoga (20-2-1), the fourth-ranked large school division team in New York.

We came in thinking we could win it, and at the end we were able to pull it out, said Saratoga coach Mike Ricupero.

Luse's first goal " which came with eight seconds left in the first period " was the controversial turning point of the game. Luse was offsides when Luke Fauler sent the puck into Shen's end of the ice, but the referee ruled that it glanced off a Plainsmen's stick before it crossed the blue line. Luse picked up the puck, weaved around two Shen defenders and fired it past goaltender Brett Bernardo to give Saratoga a 2-1 lead.

"I thought I was offsides, but I guess they ruled that they touched it first," said Luse.

"The ref interpreted that we directed the puck to go into the zone. That's how he interpreted it," said Shen coach Juan de la Rocha, who made a plea to the referee after Luse's goal.

There was no denying Luse's second goal. As Saratoga was killing off a penalty early in the second period, a bad pass by a Shen player left the puck open at mid ice. Luse picked up the puck, streaked into the zone and scored to give the Blue Streaks a 3-1 lead.

"My eyes got pretty big [when I saw the puck]," said Luse.

Shen (17-5-1) got a goal back late in the second period. Michael McCarthy sent the puck ahead to Matt Dempsey, who flicked it past Saratoga goaltender Ryan Bourgeois on the fly to make the score 3-2.

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