An unkind non-league schedule ended in yet another tough loss for the Shenendehowa hockey team Saturday.
Now, the Plainsmen have five Capital District High School Hockey League games left to show they are still a team that needs to be reckoned with when the Section II Division I playoffs roll around in mid-February.
“We’ve learned a lot in these games about ourselves and our team,” Shenendehowa head coach Scott Louis said after his squad’s 3-1 loss to Ithaca. “Some of our youth has really excelled in these games. Our power play is really coming around.”
What the Plainsmen don’t have to show from their non-league schedule is a whole lot of wins. Playing one state-ranked team after another away from CDHSHL play, Shenendehowa (5-1, 6-9) finished its non-league schedule with a 1-8 mark.
Its latest non-league loss came to Ithaca (2-10-2, Section IV), which played Saratoga Springs to a 2-2 tie Friday night. Like in too many games this season for Louis’ liking, the Plainsmen appeared to have the better run of play throughout much of the contest, but could not translate that into a victory.
“We really had opportunities in the third period,” Louis said. “We dominated for the first minutes of play there and had some good shots, some good flurries, but we didn’t cash in.”
Where the Plainsmen most hurt themselves, though, was with penalties in the early going. Within six minutes of play, Shenendehowa found itself needing to kill off a 5-on-3 play for the visiting Little Red.
“When we’re 5-on-5, we can keep up with any team, be in the mix. But when we take penalties and have to stop and kill one, it’s tough,” Shenendehowa senior Marty McCrudden said. “We kept going backwards when we were trying to go forwards.”
The Plainsmen were successful on that kill, with a big clear from freshman Jared Lambright helping finish it off. But Shenendehowa’s penalty woes didn’t stop there, as the team was called for another two penalties in the opening period and served with another pair late in the second.
“We’ve got to stay out of the penalty box, especially early in games,” said Louis, whose team did not commit a penalty in the final 17 minutes of play. “We lose so much flow that way.”
“When we take penalties, that’s catastrophic for us,” Shenendehowa senior Zach Caswell said.
In between all those penalties, Shenendehowa took a 1-0 lead early in the second period on a goal from junior Haydan Haldane. That lead, though, didn’t last long, as Ithaca tied the score up minutes later on junior Cameron Hartman’s shorthanded goal.
Ithaca and Shenendehowa played a fast-paced, penalty-free third period. The Plainsmen controlled play for much of the period, but Ithaca was able to make its chances count. Ithaca senior Brandon Shirley scored two goals in the final 4:03, redirecting a high shot for the game-winning goal and sneaking one in while on a quasi-breakaway with 1:29 left.
“You’ve got to give that kid credit,” Louis said. “That was one heck of a tip on that [game-winning] shot.”
In net, senior David Mackey made 25 saves for Shenendehowa.
While Shenendehowa wanted to come out of its non-league schedule with more wins, Caswell said the Plainsmen are not hanging their heads. When they get back to practice Monday, he said, they’ll be looking forward without any regrets.
“Our coaches do a great job of keeping us positive,” he said.
And, there are obvious positives for the Plainsmen as they head into their final five league games. Shenendehowa, despite its overall losing record, still is tied in second place in the CDHSHL and controls its own destiny since it still has a game left with undefeated Saratoga Springs.
“But we can’t look too far ahead because then we’ll let a game slip by us like this one did,” McCrudden said. “We’ve got to start winning games.”
Ithaca 0 1 2 — 3
Shenendehowa 0 1 0 — 1
First period — None.
Second period — 1, Shenendehowa, Hayden Haldane (Jared Lambright, Marty McCrudden), 1:02. 2, Ithaca, Cameron Hartman (Jaeyoon Kim), 4:52.
Third Period — 3, Ithaca, Brandon Shirley (James Cronin, Kim), 10:57. 4, Ithaca, Shirley, 13:31.
Goalkeepers — Ithaca, Keane Niday, 25 saves
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Categories: High School Sports