“We played very well in the first two periods of the game, but we ran into a very hot goaltender and we started playing tight,” said Rodrigue.
All of the offensive pressure Bethlehem placed on Guilderland/Mohonasen in the first two periods turned into a four-goal outburst in the final 15 minutes. Diego got things going with his marker 1:08 into the period, and Carroll scored off a pass from behind the net nine seconds later to make the score 3-1.
“You could see the kids take a breath and relax,” said Rodrigue.
Carroll tallied his third goal of the game midway through the third period when he sprung himself for a breakaway McCrum had no chance of stopping. Carroll skated in ahead of the Guilderland/Mohonasen defense and wristed a shot inside the crossbar that knocked McCrum’s water bottle off the top of the goal.
“The key was to stay confident in the third period, which we did,” said Carroll, who is second on the team in scoring with eight goals.
Matt State capped the scoring with 4:56 left in the third period when he took Luke McGrath’s pass and slapped home a shot for a 5-1 Bethlehem lead.
Koivula said Saturday’s game followed a familiar pattern for Guilderland/Mohonasen.
“You can put two good periods together, but you run out of gas in the third period with only 12 skaters,” said Koivula. “But these guys play hard.”
“You’ve got to hand it to them. They came out and played a great game,” said Rodrigue. “They have a short bench and a great goaltender, and they gave it everything they got. It took everything we had and then some to pull it out in the third period.”
McCrum finished with 35 saves for Guilderland/Mohonasen, while Bethlehem goaltender Josh Banach stopped 11 shots.
The season doesn’t get easier for Guilderland/Mohonasen or Bethlehem. The Dutch Warriors’ next game is Wednesday against Shenendehowa (4-1-1, 6-5-1), and the Eagles head north Thursday to face Queensbury (3-2-1, 7-5-2). Guilderland/Mohonasen then hosts South Glens Falls/Hudson Falls (1-6-1, 3-8-2) Saturday at Union College, while Bethlehem battles Shen at the Bethlehem Area YMCA.