Hockey: Blue Streaks still have sights set on No. 1 seed
If you’re driving by the Saratoga Springs Ice Rink today or Wednesday and hear a buzzing sound, don’t be alarmed.
That’s just the wake-up call the Saratoga Springs High School hockey team received Friday night.
After thoroughly dominating rival Shenendehowa in a 7-0 victory last Wednesday, the Blue Streaks went out and laid an egg on Friday, losing to Shaker/Colonie, 5-2.
The loss dropped the Blue Streaks (14-3-1, 11-1-1 Capital District High School Hockey League), who went into Friday night’s game ranked 10th in the state, to third in the league standings, behind the Plainsmen and the Jets.
But the loss will be a forgotten hiccup if the Blue Streaks take care of business this week. They host Christian Brothers Academy on Wednesday at 6:45 p.m.. and then face Glens Falls, also at home, on Thursday.
“We just didn’t play well Friday,” said Saratoga coach Dave Torres Monday. “But we learned from that, and now we can look ahead.”
Torres admitted the Streaks suffered a letdown after the big win over Shenendehowa.
“With the technology today, the kids knew what Shaker/Colonie was doing, and knew how Shenendehowa had handled them [a 5-2 Plainsmen victory],” he said. “They had the mindset that they just had to go out, and we would beat them.”
But that’s not what happened. Instead, the Jets took control, scoring three unanswered goals to erase a 1-0 deficit, and goalie Zach Dignum held the Streaks at bay the rest of the way, finishing with 27 saves.
“We had a good practice today, then we’ll have another good practice [today] and we’ll go from there,” said Torres. “We’re looking forward to Wednesday. We still control our own destiny. If we win out, we’ll be the number one seed for sectionals, and that’s been out goal all along.”
The Streaks still trail Shenendehowa by 11⁄2 points in the standings, but the Plainsmen have one game left, worth one point, while the Streaks can win three points if they defeat the Brothers and the Indians.
But the Brothers (8-3-3, 9-6-4) are a tough out. They lost to Saratoga, 7-1, early in the season, but have a tie and a one-goal loss to Shenendehowa, and a pair of ties against Shaker/Colonie.
“They’re not going to come in and lie down,” said Torres, “We beat them early in the season, but we also beat Shaker/Colonie easily in a scrimmage. I know what CBA has done, and they’re going to come in fully loaded.
“I just have to look back at last year’s sectional semifinals. They gave us a tough game, and Wednesday is going to be another battle.”
The Brothers had the top-seeded Streaks on the ropes in the semifinals last season, leading, 2-1, in the final two minutes.
But Mike Layman scored with 64 seconds left to force overtime, and Nick Winters netted the game-winner at 3:59 of the extra period to send the Streaks to the finals.
The Brothers should be looking at film to see how Shaker/Colonie stopped Saratoga’s top line of Tyler Bullard, Devin Smith and Winters, all seniors. Bullard, the leading scorer in Section II (26-22-48), scored the first goal of the game Friday, but that was the only point his line got all night. Winters goes into Wednesday night’s game with 40 points (15-25-40), and Smith has 28 (14-14).
“They’ve been together for two years now,” said Torres of his top line. “They’re the best line in the league.”
The Brothers are led offensively by John Bassett (14-10-24) and Zach Swanteck (10-10-20), but, on paper, lack the depth that Saratoga has.
“They’ve got to try to match up with us, but I’ve got three proven lines,” said Torres. “I’m confident we can skate with anyone in the area.”