Shenendehowa boys’ ice hockey outworks Queensbury in 6-0 win

Two hockey players go for the puck in game

Shenendehowa's John Westrick battles for possession against Queensbury's Julien Shafer Wednesday at Prestige Services Arena in Clifton Park.

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CLIFTON PARK — The Shenendehowa boys’ ice hockey team was ready for Queensbury on Wednesday.

Plainsmen head coach Juan de la Rocha stressed to his players leading up to the game that their opponent “always shows up to compete.” He said that the Spartans worked harder than when the two sides met on Dec. 14, and that’s why Shenendehowa lost.

This time, de la Rocha’s team was prepared to put in the work, and it executed, earning a 6-0 win to end the regular season.

That effort was also evident to Queensbury head coach Dean Williams. He gave a lot of credit to Plainsmen goalie Mason Snider, who made 29 saves. But he also recognized Shenendehowa for its effort.

“We had opportunities to put the puck in the back of the net, and when they had their opportunities — power play goal [and] two shorthanded goals — they took advantage,” Williams said. They worked hard, but we didn’t come ready to play.”

One player who embodied Shenendehowa’s performance was junior captain Freddy Hicks, who scored a hat trick, including both shorthanded goals — the first of which he got down to the ice at the right post and jammed home.

“He played with a lot of second effort today,” de la Rocha said. “One thing that Freddie does very well is he plays very good stick-on-puck. So when he’s defending and he is containing a player that has the puck, he can be very frustrating to play against.”

Hicks said the extra energy to get back on defense, skate harder and battle for pucks down low came from his teammates.

“These are my best friends,” Hicks said, “so when I hear that the season is coming to the end, I want to play as best as I can for all of them. And I feel like everybody has that same mentality, and I think it’s obvious on the ice.”

Someone Hicks and de la Rocha both pointed to was freshman Brayden Williams. The rookie has played in every game. He began on the fourth line, but midway through the season, de la Rocha moved him to the top line with Hicks and senior Andrew Thornton. 

Sophomore Tyler Rodriguez, who drew a charging penalty from Queensbury’s Ethan Kelsey late in the first period leading to the first Shenendehowa goal by Steven Anslow, is another on a list of players to also step up this season.

Wednesday, he also cleared a sure Spartans’ goal off the line a few minutes before drawing the penalty. He also banged around down low, which, in the second, eventually led to a John Westrick goal.

“One difference [tonight], they had like eight or nine seniors and six of them were forwards. We have one senior forward — that’s a lot of youth on offense,” de la Rocha said. “Whether they’re juniors or sophomores, they’re not seniors. And I would love to have five more Andrew Thorntons, but we don’t. So, we need those kids to play older and we need them to grow up and play bigger.”

Thornton had a goal and three assists, but he also exemplified what Shenendehowa was doing so well defensively.

“We’ve been working a lot lately on angling in the neutral zone especially, and just kind of closing down space,” de la Rocha said. “And we’ve really been doing a good job with that lately, and that’s limited chances for our opponents coming through the middle of the ice. But our backcheck has been fantastic, too.”

De la Rocha said he entered Wednesday viewing it as the first game in a potential four-game set, mostly against teams they have not beaten. Queensbury and then the Section II playoffs — the Plainsmen have earned a bye to the quarterfinals by securing the No. 3 seed.

“So, today was check the first box,” de la Rocha said. “All right, we could do it against Queensbury. Can we do it against these other teams? I think we can.”


Saratoga Springs was also in action Wednesday, hosting Adirondack.

The Blue Streaks entered the night tied for the final bye into the Section II tournament quarterfinals, with Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake/Ballston Spa. All they needed was a tie against the regular-season champions, and a tie they got, 2-2.

“The guys proved to themselves that they can play with any team in our league,” Saratoga Springs head coach Tim Horst said. “And we’re going to use that energy to push us forward into the playoffs.”

Junior Patrick Temple, returning from a two-week absence due to illness, scored both goals for Saratoga Springs. His second gave the hosts the lead with 5:32 to play. But, Adirondack pulled its goalie late and senior Dalton Hogan scored his second of the game with 38 seconds left in regulation.

The Blue Streaks had a 5-on-3 advantage early in overtime but were unable to convert.


In the third game Wednesday, Bethlehem shutout Albany Academy 5-0 to lock up the No. 2 seed and seal Academy’s fate as the No. 11 seed.

Albany Academy will take on BH/BS in one of three play-in round matchups set for Sunday and Monday. No. 7 La Salle will face No. 10 Storm and No. 8 CBA will face No. 9 Mohawks in the other two.

In the quarterfinals, Saratoga Springs already knows it will take on No. 4 Capital District Jets. But, No. 1 Adirondack awaits the winner of CBA/Mohawks, Bethlehem awaits La Salle/Storm and Shenendehowa will play BH/BS or Albany Academy.

As the only Division 2 team in Section II, Queensbury automatically moves on to the sub-regional game against Section IV’s Ithaca next Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. at the JM McDonald Sports Complex in Cortland.

The Section II Division 1 tournament schedule will be released Thursday night. 

Queensbury 0 0 0 — 0

Shenendehowa   2 3 1 — 6

Queensbury scoring: None. Shenendehowa scoring: Thornton 1-3, Hicks 3-0, Anslow 1-0, Westrick 1-0, Hall 0-1, Wolfe 0-1, Rodriguez 0-1, Williams 0-1. Goalies: Shenendehowa, Snider 29 saves. Queensbury, Fanciullo 18 saves; Breault 7 saves.

Adirondack 0 1 1 0 — 2

Saratoga Springs 0 1 1 0 — 2

Adirondack scoring: Hogan 2-0, Paro 0-1, Cormie 0-1. Saratoga Springs scoring: Temple 2-0. Goalies: Adirondack, Goodsell 28 saves. Saratoga Springs, Clarke 27 saves.

Categories: -Sports-, Clifton Park and Halfmoon, High School Sports

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