Mohawks have been surprise team in school hockey

Niskayuna/Schenectady launches its Section II hockey bid following a better-than-expected regular se
PHOTOGRAPHER:

If the regular season is any indic­ation, fans headed to tonight’s Section II Div­ision I playoff game between

Niskayuna/Schenectady and Christian Brothers Academy might want to eat a big meal first, because these two teams could go all night.

The Mohawks and the Brothers, who face off at 7 p.m. at the Schen­ectady County Recreational Facility, went to overtime twice during the regular season. The Mohawks picked up a 1-0 win at home, scoring with five seconds left in overtime, and the teams battled to a 1-1 tie in the second meeting.

“That’s the way the league has been this year,” said Mohawks coach Todd Templeton. “Every game meant something, and the kids had to show up and be ready to play every night.

“Look at the league from top to bottom. Guilderland finished second, and they beat us, 6-5, in overtime. We beat Saratoga, 2-0, and they finished last. Our game with Shen was 4-3. It’s been crunch time very week.”

Niskayuna/Schenectady, the fourth seed, finished with a 16-7-1

overall record, which even surprised Templeton.

“Our record was better than I expected,” he said. “We got a couple of big wins that we weren’t expecting when the season started.”

One of the reasons for the

Mohawks’ success is balanced scoring. While many teams rely on one line, the Mohawks have two solid units.

Matt Kimmey is the leading scorer with 32 points (18-14) and he’ll be teamed with Mike Tenenboym

(9-21-30) and Ryan Grant (12-11-23).

But the line of Britt Leone

(11-13-24), Chris Farah (12-8-20) and Greg Ducharme (3-7-10) is also a threat.

“We get scoring from both those lines, as well as the young kids on the third line,” said Templeton. “We’re balanced because all these guys work the same at practice. We’ve got good team chemistry, which sometimes can be hard to find.”

Templeton’s one big concern is a flu bug that affected the team over the weekend.

“We played Burnt Hills last Thursday, and two-thirds of the team had the flu,” he said. “I only had 12 skaters at practice Monday, but hopefully, everybody will be healthy.”

The Mohawks’ defense is also solid, anchored by junior Mike Casey, a first-team Capital District High School Hockey League all-star, and senior goalie Scott Hartz (1.79 goals-against average, .930 save percentage).

Although the Brothers struggled during the regular season, posting a 6-12-6 record, they have one of the best defenses in the league. Andrew Blood, who played every game but one in goal, has a 2.08 GAA and was the first-team all-CDHSHL goalie, while junior defenseman Andrew Sellner was also a first-team pick.

But CBA struggled offensively, averaging just 1.8 goals per game. Nick Mannarino is the team’s leading scorer with 23 points (11-12), but the No. 2 scorer, Mark Meybaum, only has 15 (10-5).

In the other first-round game tonight, weather permitting, No. 3 seed LaSalle takes on Shaker/Col­onie at Hudson Valley Community College at 7:20.

Regular-season champion Shenendehowa, which suffered a 3-0 loss to LaSalle in its reg­ular-season finale, snapping the Plainsmen’s 22-game unbeaten streak, has a first-round bye.

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