After two dream periods against Bethlehem, reality hit the Guilderland/Mohonasen hockey team in the third period.
The Dutch Warriors – a group of 14 players, many of whom are juniors or younger – ran out of gas in the third period, which helped Bethlehem pull away for a 5-1 victory in the annual “Wooden Skate” game at Union College.
R.J. Diego and Andrew Carroll scored goals nine seconds apart within the first 1:17 of the third period to give Bethlehem (4-2-1 league, 6-5-1 overall) a 3-1 lead, and the Eagles never looked back.
“When it was 1-1 at the beginning of the third period, I told the guys it was important to get the lead within the first five minutes … because you never know what can happen,” said Bethlehem coach Andre Rodrigue.
Up to that point, Guilderland/Mohonasen (0-6-0, 0-12-0) had ridden the coattails of goaltender Austin McCrum. The Mohonasen senior made 27 saves on Bethlehem’s first 28 shots to keep his team in the game.
“He’s had games where he’s played like that,” said Guilderland/Mohonasen coach Ed Koivula. “When he’s on, it’s tough to get it by him.”
“Their goalie was playing well,” said Carroll, who recorded a hat trick to lead Bethlehem’s offense. “We had some good opportunities, and we just didn’t finish them.”
Guilderland/Mohonasen had a difficult time generating any offensive pressure to support McCrum, but the Dutch Warriors did give him a lead to work with when sophomore defenseman Dillon Kedik scored off a Troy Bennett assist with 4:26 left in the first period for a 1-0 advantage. Kedik’s goal was one of only 12 shots Guilderland/Mohonasen had in the game.
By contrast, Bethlehem threw shot after shot at McCrum through the first two periods. The only one that got past McCrum was a great individual effort by Carroll midway through the second period. Carroll skated through the Guilderland/Mohonasen defense and jammed the puck into the net to tie the score at 1-1.