Adam Hitchko has a mighty slap shot in his arsenal, but it’s certainly not his only scoring device.
Using a wrist shot in the opening period and a close-range tap-in the third, the big senior forward from Shenendehowa became the program’s career goal-scoring leader in Wednesday’s 7-0 Capital District High School Hockey League victory over Saratoga Springs at Clifton Park Arena.
“I thought they were going to be better shots than that,” Hitchko said with a chuckle, after registering
career goals No. 87 and 88. “Hey, they all count. I’ll take ’em.”
Hitchko used a wicked slap shot to score the winning goal in Tuesday’s 4-2 triumph over Guilderland. His only blast Wednesday came midway through the second period, from just inside the blue line, and hit hard off the pipe.
“People talk about his slap shot, but his wrist shot, he uses it just as much,” said Shenendehowa coach Juan de la Rocha. “He doesn’t telegraph it as much because there’s no windup. I think sometimes he catches people by surprise with it.”
With his 25th and 26th goals this season, the versatile Hitchko tied and then moved past Mike Rosa on the Shenendehowa career goal-scoring list. Rosa produced his 87 goals from 1990 through 1994.
“It is kind of a relief. I’ve been counting them down, and people have been reminding me,” said the 17-year-old ice hockey and lacrosse standout. “Once I got 87, it was like, ‘Wow, I’m actually there.’ ”
Hitchko said getting there wasn’t a thought when the season began. He was more concerned with helping Shenendehowa (13-0-1, 19-1-3) win games, and he has. The Plainsmen wrapped up the CDHSHL’s overall title Tuesday, and have their sights on a sixth consecutive Section II Division I banner.
“I didn’t expect it in the beginning of the season,” said Hitchko, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound assistant team captain, who scored 27 goals as a junior and 26 as a sophomore. “Coach said, ‘You have an opportunity,’ and I kept working at it. It feels excellent.”
“That was the only time I said anything. I put it on the table early in the season, and haven’t really mentioned it since. This is a team game, after all,” de la Rocha said. “I just knew if we were going to be productive as a team, he had to be productive on that second line.”
Linemate Jesse Elliott hit Hitchko with a perfect crossing pass, and Hitchko beat Saratoga netminder T.J. Delaney on a power play 2:28 into the final period for the
record-breaking goal. Bryan Hunter and Nathan Palmer added goals 32 seconds apart later in the period to make it 6-0, and Elliott capped the scoring as the Plainsmen — ranked No. 3 in the state — extended their unbeaten streak to 22 games.
“Elliott was cutting across [behind the cage] looking to pass, and their kid got a stick on it. He chased it down and gave me an excellent pass,” Hitchko said. “It was right on my stick, and I stuck it far post.”
Hitchko scored on a wrist shot from the top of the slot 6:54 into the contest, converting after Alec Pacheco’s feed. Delaney had saved a similar wrist shot by Hitchko four minutes into the game.
“There were a couple of guys between us, and I used them as a screen,” Hitchko said. “He [Delaney] got a glove or a shin pad on it, and it trickled in.”
Second-period goals 19 seconds apart by Sean DeMerchant and Hunter extended Shenendehowa’s advantage to 3-0. Hitchko had an opportunity to add to that late in the period when he stole a pass while forchecking, but could not get a shot off as Delaney broke up the play.
“It was hard today. We had a tough game last night. It was a late night,” said Hitchko. “I was tired, but every game, I try to get up for it. I love playing hockey.”
Shenendehowa sophomore goalie Peter Rakowski recorded his third shutout with 19 saves, including 12 in the second period.
“Peter played an excellent game,” said de la Rocha. “We’ve been relying a lot on our senior [Nathan Mellow], and we’ve been trying to get Peter in as much as possible. When he gets in there, he battles.”
Saratoga dipped to 5-12-1 in the CDHSHL and 6-14-2 overall.
Saratoga 0 0 0 — 0
Shenendehowa 1 2 4 — 7
First period — 1, Shen, Adam Hitchko (Joe Macaluso, Alec Pacheco), 6:54.
Second period — 2, Shen, Sean DeMerchant (Jared Frazer), 8:45; 3, Shen, Bryan Hunter (Jesse Elliott), 9:04.
Third period — 4, Shen, Hitchko (Hunter, Elliott), 2:28; 5, Shen, Hunter (Macaloso, Scott Brayden), 5:11; 6, Shen, Nathan Palmer (Tim Wall), 5:43; 7, Shen, Elliott (Hunter, A.J. Mangino), 10:43.
Goalkeepers — Saratoga, T.J. Delaney, 16 saves; Tyger McGuiggan, 5 saves. Shenendehowa, Peter Rakowsky, 19 saves.
ALBANY — Matt Job’s goal at 4:27 of the second period snapped a 2-2 tie and lifted Millbrook to an 8-4 Western New England Prep School Conference win over Albany Academy.
Tom Valenti scored twice for the Cadets (1-10-1 WNEPSC, 5-16-2
Millbrook 2 2 4 — 8
Albany Academy 0 2 2 — 4
First Period — 1, M, Matt Abbott (Blake Bayse, Jon Theriault), 5:07. 2, M, Theriault (Kirk Baldo), 11:24.
Second Period — 3, AA, Kevin Perron (Zach Popp), 2:29. 4, AA, Tom Valenti (Chris Connors), 3:57. 5, M, Matt Job (Evan Haney, Mathieu Dubuc), 4:27. 6, M, Haney (Dubuc), 5:35.
Third Period — 7, M, Baldo, 12:05. 8, M, Bayse (Baldo, Nick Turro), 13:01 (sh). 9, M, Dubuc (Haney), 13:10 (sh). 10, AA, Valenti (Connors), 14:05. 11, AA, Lucas First (Connors), 14:46 (pp). 12, M, Dubuc (Nick DeMarte), 17:15.
Goalies — M, Jaime MacMillan (30 shots-26 saves). AA, Tim Gerrish (49-41).
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