Name any aspect of the game, and Shaker/Colonie’s ice hockey team was better at it Friday night.
Brian Seniw scored goals less than four minutes apart in the opening period, and the Jets threw a defensive blanket over Shenendehowa in a 3-0 Section II Division I semifinal victory at Clifton Park Arena.
Joe Chiara assisted on Seniw’s 16th and 17th goals, Ryan Phillips added a second-period tally, and Jim Lanne made 15 saves as Shaker/Colonie avenged a 3-2 regular-season loss to the Plainsmen and earned the right to defend its area championship.
Shaker/Colonie will take on either Saratoga Springs or LaSalle Institute Thursday night at Union College, while Shenendehowa was denied a opportunity to play for a championship it captured six straight times from 2003-08.
“They played like seniors tonight, like they had 12 seniors on the roster,” said Shenendehowa coach Juan de la Rocha. “Our guys were a little late with their intensity. I’m proud of the guys for stepping up to the plate in the third period and trying to make it a game, but it was a little too late.”
Shaker/Colonie (No. 3 seed, 14-6-2) set the tone early when Lanne made three saves in quick succession, and Seniw beat Shenendehowa freshman netminder Brian Walter twice soon after, on a breakaway at the 4:09 in, and again from close range at the 7:33 mark.
“In our last two games he has not let the other team get into their game and get momentum,” Shaker/Colonie coach Steve Hudak said of Lanne, a senior who also shut out Christian Brothers Academy in a 4-0 quarterfinal victory. “He’s playing like a senior.”
Shenendehowa (No. 2 seed, 13-7-2) had piled up nine goals in its quarterfinal win over Niskayuna/Schenectady before running into Lanne and company.
“Defensive zone coverage and neutral zone coverage were the keys. We came into the game thinking we had to get that done,” said Hudak, who received strong efforts from defensemen Steve Dowd, Doug Swezey, Nick Kyratzis and Kyle Mangione. “We played well. We did a nice job of keeping the puck in front of us.”
De la Rocha was thinking comeback after Seniw’s goals, the first one coming on Shaker/Colonie’s initial shot of the contest.
“That was a tough way for Walter to start. Our mind set was to chip away. You sneak one in, and the tide changes,” he said. “All the credit to Shaker. They did a good job of spreading it out and slowing the pace down. It certainly wasn’t a shooting gallery out there tonight.”
Phillips tapped the puck past Walter 7:33 into the second period after getting a feed by Chris Cusack, and Shenendehowa could not muster an answer.
“What changed momentum was our missed opportunities,” de la Rocha said. “He [Lanne] made some saves, but we had some chances. That’s been the story of our season. We’ve been snakebit a little bit this year.”
Walter made 15 saves, including 10 in a busy, penalty-filled second period. The ninth-grader took over for senior Peter Rakowsky late in the regular season when the all-Capital District High School Hockey League goalie was sidelined with joint pain as a result of lime disease.
“Brian Walter did a great job for us,” said de la Rocha. “To get thrown into that situation, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Lanne, a CDHSHL first team selection, made outstanding glove saves early in the second and third periods as part of his shutout.
Saratoga (No. 1 seed, 15-4-1) and LaSalle (No. 4 seed, 10-11-0) play their semifinal tonight at 5:45 at Weible Avenue Rink.
Shaker/Colonie 2 1 0 — 3
Shenendehowa 0 0 0 — 0
First Period — 1, SC, Brian Seniw (Joe Chiara, Troy Williams), 4:09; 2, SC, Seniw (Chiara), 7:33.
Second Period — 3, SC, Ryan Phillips (Chris Cusack), 7:16.
Third Period — None.
Goalkeepers — Shaker/Colonie, Jim Lanne, 15 saves. Shenendehowa, Brian Walter, 15 saves.
Categories: High School Sports