COLONIE The season is two games old, and already Bethlehem hockey coach Andre Rodrigue is tired of seeing his team fall behind early.
The Eagles (0-2) lost to Ithaca 7-1 and Mamaroneck 7-4 at last weekend's Shaker/Colonie Thanksgiving Tournament at the Albany County Hockey Facility. Both of Bethlehem's opponents scored three times in the first period to get the jump on the Eagles.
"We learned that we need to be more prepared at the start of each game. We can't be giving up three goals in the first period," said Rodrigue. "It takes a complete game and a complete effort from all of the kids on the team."
Saturday's loss to Mamaroneck was particularly frustrating for Bethlehem. The Eagles trimmed an early 3-1 deficit on Andrew Carroll's goal with 8:54 left in the second period, only to see the Tigers (1-1) score four times over a three-minute span to build a 7-2 cushion.
"We would score and we'd get some momentum going, and then we'd have these three-minute lapses and they'd take advantage of it," said Rodrigue. "It went from being a 3-2 game to a 6-2 game in only a couple of minutes."
Ryan LeBlanc scored 5:01 into the first period to give Mamaroneck a 1-0 lead. Carroll tallied with 5:10 left to tie the score at 1-1 before goals from Will Kirk and Alex Ewald late in the opening frame put the Tigers ahead 3-1.
Ewald, John Wojciechowski, James Torre and Matt Vaughan notched goals during Mamaroneck's second-period spurt before Bethlehem took over in the third period. Mike Lemieux gave the Eagles a boost by stuffing in a point-blank goal less than two minutes into the final frame, and Zach Nunez blasted in a shot from the blue line with 32 seconds remaining to make the final score more respectable.