One line was drawn in the sand — er, etched into the ice — while another team reversed course at an opportune time in last weekend’s Capital District High School Hockey League action. Here is a recap and a look ahead to this week.
Friday, Jan. 27
LaSalle 3, Saratoga 1
Saratoga (5-5-0 league, 6-11-0 overall) was already reeling from a head-scratching 5-3 loss to Queensbury two nights earlier (Jan. 25) when it played league-leading LaSalle, and things didn’t get better for the Blue Streaks. Two goals by Kevin Mainello 14 saves by goaltender Zac Rentz helped the Cadets (11-1-0, 13-1-2) ease past Saratoga.
Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa 4, Queensbury 4 (OT)
Unlike their first meeting two weeks earlier (a 4-1 Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa victory Jan. 13), Queensbury (1-6-2, 4-9-2) didn’t allow Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa to pull away. Instead, the Spartans struck for three goals in the second period to carry a 3-2 lead into the final 15 minutes. Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa (7-5-1, 9-6-1) regained the lead with two quick goals in the third period before Jack Merkosky tied the score with 18 seconds left in the third period. All in all, a good showing for a feisty Queensbury squad.
Shaker/Colonie 2, GMSVS 1
Shaker/Colonie (5-6-1, 5-10-1) had allowed 72 goals this season before Friday night’s home game against Guilderland/Mohonasen/Scotia/Voorheesville/Schalmont. But on this night, goaltender Dan Molloy (more about him later) stood tall and stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced to help the Jets pull out a victory over the Storm (2-11-0, 2-13-0).
Shenendehowa 7, Tri-Falls 5
This game lived up to its billing, as both teams lit up the scoreboard. The main difference on this night was Shen’s balance, as Brennan Alheim and Hayden Haldane each scored a pair of goals to lead the attack, while Tom Relyea and Zach Rupert each added a pair of assists for the Plainsmen (7-2-1, 8-8-1). Meanwhile, Tri-Falls (4-4-0, 5-9-0) leaned heavily on Jared Thomas, who recorded a hat trick and added two assists.
Saturday, Jan. 28
Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa 5, Saratoga 2
Nick Kozelak’s hat trick helped Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa sweep its two games against Saratoga this season — a first for the program. Perhaps more alarming for the Blue Streaks is that they were out-shot 33-17. It’s one thing to lose by three goals. It’s another to be overmatched. That’s what happened to Saratoga on this night, and it’s not a good sign for the Blue Streaks.
Shaker/Colonie 3, Christian Brothers Academy 1
This result may turn Shaker/Colonie’s season around. The Jets got another stellar performance from Molloy (25 saves), and they got a clutch goal in the third period to pull out the victory over a quality CBA team (6-4-0, 8-8-1). If Molloy continues to play like this, Shaker/Colonie has a chance to move into a top-four seed for the playoffs.
Bethlehem 6, GMSVS 1
All you need to know about this game is that Bethlehem (4-2-1, 10-4-1) spent 10.5 minutes killing off penalties and still outshot GMSVS 60-8. Only a superior goaltending effort by the Storm’s Daniel Cooper (54 saves) prevented this from getting into a true runaway.
LaSalle 7, Niskayuna/Schenectady 3
Mainello and Logan DiScanio each had two goals and three assists to lead LaSalle to the four-goal win over Niskayuna/Schenectady (3-9-0, 4-12-0). Mohawks’ goaltender Katerina Wehe had 38 saves.
The week ahead
Tuesday, Jan. 31
Bethlehem at LaSalle — The Eagles can prove they still belong in the conversation for the Division 1 title with a victory over the first-place Cadets. For LaSalle, it’s another opportunity to prove it is the best team in the CDHSHL.
Wednesday, Feb. 1
Shenendehowa at Saratoga — Section 2’s biggest hockey rivalry hits the Weibel Avenue Rink. Saratoga will obviously be inspired, but will that alone be enough to halt its three-game losing streak against a Shen team that has won seven in a row?
Queensbury at Tri-Falls — It’s a preview of the Division 2 final (because they are the only two Division 2 teams in Section 2). Queensbury has been playing at a high level lately, but Tri-Falls’ high-scoring offense will be a challenge to stop.
Friday, Feb. 3
Niskayuna/Schenectady at Queensbury
With the Mohawks’ season spiraling out of control (nine straight losses), this may be an opportune time for the Spartans to get another league win.
Bethlehem at Saratoga
The Blue Streaks have been a thorn in Bethlehem’s side for several years, and the Eagles would love nothing more than to skate out of Weibel with a “W.” This seems like as good of a time as any for that to happen, but if Saratoga regains some momentum by beating Shen Wednesday, all bets are off.
Non-league games — Salmon River at Tri-Falls, Shaker/Colonie vs, Niagara Falls at Lake Placid Tournament, Taconic (Mass.) at GMSVS
Saturday, Feb. 4
Shenendehowa at Niskayuna/Schenectady — Unless something unforeseen happens, expect Shen to skate past Niskayuna/Schenectady.
Bethlehem at Tri-Falls — Long bus trip plus high-scoring Tri-Falls offense equals a potential trap game for the surging Eagles.
LaSalle at CBA — No matter which sport it is, the rivalry between the two private schools is particularly strong. Expect a thriller.
Non-league games — Shaker/Colonie at Lake Placid Tournament, Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa at Thousand Islands/Alexandria Bay, GMSVS at Taconic (Mass.)
Associate editor/sports editor