Quick goal triggers Saratoga Springs

Cam McCall's early goal sparks Saratoga Springs hockey team past Bethlehem, 5-0
Caleb Smith of Saratoga takes a shot on goalie Carl Cusack of Bethlehem Wednesday, January 7, 2015.
Caleb Smith of Saratoga takes a shot on goalie Carl Cusack of Bethlehem Wednesday, January 7, 2015.

One way for a hockey team to shake off the rust is to score quickly.

Saratoga Springs did just that Wednesday night, as defenseman Cam McCall got the first of what would be a two-goal night 42 seconds into a 5-0 win over Bethlehem.

The goal jump started the Blue Streaks, who hadn’t played since Jan. 2, and hadn’t played a Capital District High School Hockey League game since falling to arch-rival Shenendehowa on Dec. 19.

“You worry about coming back after a long layoff. You wait to play, and you’re hungry,” said Blue Streaks coach Dave Torres, whose team had a league game with Niskayuna/Schenectady postponed last Saturday. “You want to get back out on the ice, and they were hungry and came out of the locker room flying.

“We talked about getting that first shift going, and they responded.”

McCall let a wrist shot fly from the left circle 42 seconds in, and, just like that, the Blue Streaks had their skating legs under them.

“We were all disappointed that the [Saturday] game got canceled. We were all ready to go,” said McCall, a senior defenseman. “We knew what we had to do tonight, get two points, and we got it done.”

Not that he expected the second shot of the game to result in a lead.

“Somebody made a good keep, and the puck just came right out to me,” McCall said. “I was just trying to get it on net.

“Our focus is to get that first goal, and as soon as possible. To put our opponent on their heels.”

The Streaks scored early in all three periods.

Jack Rittenhouse made it a two-goal lead 2:46 into the second period, and Tommy Pelletier cashed in on a carryover power play 41 seconds into the third. The Blue Streaks added two more man-up goals to finish the scoring.

The Streaks have a league-best eight points on a 4-1-0 record, and are 7-2-1 overall at the midpoint of the season.

Junior goalkeeper Tom Fornabia got his first varsity shutout, making 19 saves. He did his best work in the first 15 minutes.

“Tom played fantastic. He saw every shot,” said Torres, who is also the team’s goalkeeper coach. “He made some big saves in the first period to keep us in the game.

“He’s improvng every game. We work on little things, like stopping the first shot, and letting our defensemen clear it out.”

“He backed us up, and that’s what we need,” said McCall of Fornabia, who has split time with classmate Danny Hobbs.

The Blue Streaks have given up just 22 goals in their 10 games.

“We talked before the season about who’s going to be the No. 1, and they both know they’re No. 1,” said Torres, whose team posted non-league wins over West Genessee, Suffern and Williamsville North over the holiday break. “They know I can go to either guy any night and they’ll get the job done.

“Tom isn’t as battled-tested as Danny, but he’s getting there. He’s really matured the last year and a half. It’s good to see him improve like this.”

The way the Blue Streaks attacked the Eagles also was a good sign.

“In practice, we’ve put more emphasis on second and third shots,” McCall said. “At Shen, we had 35 shots [in a 4-2 loss], but most of them were first shots. We didn’t get to rebounds.

“When you get the goalie down, get him moving, it opens up a lot of opportunities.”

“You can’t assume anything,” Torres said. “You have to go after the puck and win the little battles, which I think we did tonight.”

Bethlehem 0 0 0 — 0

Saratoga 1 1 3 — 5

First period — 1, Saratoga, Cam McCall, :42.

Second period — 2, Saratoga, Jack Rittenhouse (Josh Dagle), 2:46.

Third period — 3, Saratoga, Tom Pelletier (Ian Frey, Rittenhouse), :41 (pp). 4, Saratoga, McCall, 9:57 (pp). 6, Saratoga, J.T. Rafferty (Jake Fauler), 11:41 (pp).

Goalkeepers — Bethlehem, Carl Cusack, 28 saves. Saratoga, Tom Fornabia, 19 saves.

Categories: High School Sports

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