Before we take a look ahead at the final week of the Capital District High School Hockey League regular season and the Section 2 Division 1 playoff picture, let’s take a look back at last weekend’s action.
Friday, Feb. 3
Bethlehem 4, Saratoga 1
There was no letdown for Bethlehem after beating LaSalle three nights earlier. The Eagles got goals from four different players, and goaltender Alex Breiner stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced to help Bethlehem win at Weibel Avenue Rink.
Queensbury 5, Niskayuna/Schenectady 0
The Queensbury resurgence continued with an impressive performance against a sliding Niskayuna/Schenectady squad. Austin Gordon scored twice and added an assist for the Spartans, who are 2-0-2 in their last four CDHSHL games.
Salmon River 4, Tri-Falls 3
Jared Thomas had a goal and two assists for the Rivermen against Section 10’s Salmon River.
Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa 3, Northeastern Clinton 3
Nick Koszelak (two goals, one assist) and Geordan Buffoline (three assists) had three-point nights for Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa.
Guilderland/Mohonasen/Scotia/Voorheesville/Schalmont 4, Taconic (Mass.) 1
The Storm struck for three goals in the second period to take control. Anthony Sericolo led the way with two goals and an assist.
Niagara Falls 4, Shaker/Colonie 3
Three goaltenders combined for 17 saves for Shaker/Colonie in the opening round of the Lake Placid Tournament.
Saturday, Feb. 4
LaSalle 6, Christian Brothers Academy 2
LaSalle held onto sole possession of first place by winning its rivalry game with CBA. Taylor Nitz and Tom Ryan each scored a pair of goals for the Cadets, and Logan DiScanio added a goal and three assists.
Shenendehowa 5, Niskayuna/Schenectady 0
Shen remained one point back of LaSalle in the standings after shutting out Niskayuna/Schenectady, which has now lost 11 games in a row. Brennan Alheim tallied twice for the Plainsmen.
Bethlehem 7, Tri-Falls 3
Bethlehem’s second long bus trip in less than 24 hours didn’t drain the Eagles of their energy, as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first period. Thomas Liebold had a two-goal afternoon for Bethlehem.
Thousand Islands/Alexandria Bay 4, Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa 2
Three goals by Thousand Islands/Alexandria Bay in the second period put Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa behind the eight ball.
GMSVG 2, Taconic (Mass.) 1
The Storm swept the home-and-home series with Taconic. Sericolo and Mike Farina Jr. tallied for GMSVG, and goaltender Daniel Cooper stopped 25 shots.
Saranac Lake 6, Shaker/Colonie 3
Saranac Lake scored three times in the third period to pull away from Shaker/Colonie in the Lake Placid Tournament’s consolation game.
Division 1 playoff picture
LaSalle (12-2-0 league, 15 points) currently has the No. 1 seed, followed by Shen (8-3-1, 14 points), Bethlehem (7-2-1, 13 points) and Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa (7-5-1, 10.5 points). Saratoga (6-6-0, 10 points) is a half-point out of a top-four seed, while CBA (6-5-0, 9 points) is still in the hunt. Shaker/Colonie (5-6-1, 7 points), Niskayuna/Schenectady (3-11-0, 3 points) and GMSVS (2-11-0, 2 points) round out the nine Sectional seeds.
LaSalle, Shen and Bethlehem each have a maximum of two standings points to gain this week. LaSalle faces the two Division 2 teams – Tri-Falls Wednesday and Queensbury Friday. Bethlehem takes on Niskayuna/Schenectady Wednesday and Shaker/Colonie Friday, while Shen hosts CBA Wednesday.
Bethlehem has the best chance to gain both of its available standings points against two of the lower-level CDHSHL teams, but the Eagles would need LaSalle to lose at least one of its two games and Shen to lose to CBA to grab the No. 1 seed. Far more likely, LaSalle also wins its last two games to hold onto the top seed, Shen knocks off CBA to keep the No. 2 seed and Bethlehem stays hot to take the No. 3 seed.
While Saratoga trails Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa by a half point for the No. 4 seed, it’s highly unlikely that the Blue Streaks will get there. Saratoga only has a one-point conference game remaining, a Friday game against Tri-Falls, while Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa hosts CBA Friday and Niskayuna/Schenectady Saturday. Unless something strange happens, Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa will get at least two of its remaining three standings points to secure the No. 4 seed.
CBA and Shaker/Colonie also have three available standings points to improve their Sectional seeds, but facing some of the top CDHSHL teams makes that task difficult. At least, Shaker/Colonie has a two-point league game against Queensbury Saturday to look forward to, but the way the Spartans have been playing lately, it’s not a sure thing the Jets can pull off a victory.
GMSVS is the only other team that improve its Sectional seed this weekend, but it would involve a win over Queensbury Wednesday and Niskayuna/Schenectady continuing its slide. Even if that happens, all that it would do is give the Storm a home game in the 8/9 match-up against Niskayuna/Schenectady. Not much of an improvement in one sense, but for a program that hasn’t had much success in recent years, it would mean a lot for the Storm to have a home playoff game.
It’ll be an interesting final week of the regular season.
Wednesday, Feb. 8 – LaSalle at Tri-Falls, Niskayuna/Schenectady at Bethlehem, CBA at Shen, GMSVS at Queensbury
Friday, Feb. 10 – Tri-Falls at Saratoga, Shaker/Colonie at Bethlehem, Queensbury at LaSalle, CBA at Burnt Hills/Ballston Spartans
Saturday, Feb. 11 – Queensbury at Shaker/Colonie, Niskayuna/Schenectady at Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa
Associate editor/sports editor