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Hockey Sectionals: Shen reaches final with emphatic win

Plainsmen pull away from Shaker/Colonie to advance to finals

Shenendehowa’s Brandon Mortka (4) scores the first goal in last Friday’s Section II Division I semifinal game against Shaker/Colonie at the Clifton Park Arena. The Plainsmen pulled away for a 9-2 victory.

Shenendehowa’s Brandon Mortka (4) scores the first goal in last Friday’s Section II Division I semifinal game against Shaker/Colonie at the Clifton Park Arena. The Plainsmen pulled away for a 9-2 victory. Robert Goo

— "I don't think the puck crossed the (goal) line," said Shaker/Colonie coach Steve Hudak. "And what I think happened was the referee looked at (Riddell's) reaction, and he seemed down about what happened. So, (the referee) called it in (the goal)."

Shen continued to pile up goals in the second period. Peter Sacks launched an off-balance shot that beat Riddell over his left shoulder midway through the stanza to make the score 5-1. Joe Ferraro then scored with a blast from the blue line with 5:09 left to extend the lead to five goals and chase Riddell. Later, Eric Chamberland scored when his hard shot deflected off a Shaker/Colonie player and careened past new netminder Zach Dignum to give the Plainsmen a 7-1 lead.

"We had a little puck luck tonight, and we didn't have that the first time we played them (a 6-4 loss Jan. 28 in Colonie)," said de la Rocha.

Shaker/Colonie kept playing hard in the third period, but the damage had already been done in the first two periods.

"What we said between the second and third periods is ... it was a character check. Either we could go out and play hard, or we could just give up," said Hudak. "And we played hard until the end."

"If you take the scoreboard out of the equation and looked at the way the game was played on the ice, it was a back-and-forth game," said de la Rocha.

Shen goaltenders Brian Walter and Matt Cologgi turned in strong performances. Walter made 15 saves through the first two periods, and Cologgi stopped 11 of the 12 shots he faced in the third period.

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