When Niskayuna/Schenectady hockey coach Todd Templeton walked into the locker room between periods Wednesday night, he wasn’t sure what to say.
The Mohawks had just given up four goals to Christian Brothers Academy in the first period of their Section II Division I playoff quarterfinal game, and for an offensively challenged team like the Mohawks, that was a huge mountain to climb.
“We hadn’t won in the playoffs in a few years, and the guys came out tentative and timid,” said Templeton Thursday. “Only a handful of the guys had been in this [playoff] situation before, and I had hoped they would be able to overcome it, but they didn’t. CBA came out ready to play, and had us on our heels.
“After the first period, I just told them they could continue to play like they had in the first period, or we could put it behind us, and go out and do the best we could.”
The Mohawks must have listened. They got three goals back in the second period, tied the game on a goal by Nick Torcivia in the third and then upset the second-seeded Brothers when senior Mike Tenenboym scored at 1:19 of the third overtime.
“Once we got the first goal, we got the next two in two or three minutes, and were right back in it,” said Templeton, whose seventh-seeded Mohawks (8-15-2) will face Saratoga Springs (16-7-2) at 6:45 Saturday night at the Weibel Ice Rink. “Between the second and third periods, they had a Zamboni issue and we had to sit for a while, and it seemed to kill our momentum. It took us a while to get going again.”
It was no surprise that Tenenboym and senior defenseman Mike Casey, who was named to the all-CDHSHL team Monday, came up with big plays when the Mohawks needed them most. Besides scoring the game-winner, Tenenboym, the team’s leading scorer (19-15-34), set up the tying goal, and Casey finished with three assists to push his point total to 32 (6-26).
But Chris Farah and Sam Hartz also played key roles in the comeback win. Farah’s goal started the second-period burst, and Hartz had a goal and an assist before Torcivia’s fifth goal of the year sent the game into overtime.
“Scoring and depth have been issues for us all year,” said Templeton. “We only had a few guys with any experience, and with guys like Sam Hartz and Nick Torcivia, we weren’t sure what to expect. But in the third overtime, we got a little lucky, and caught them in a line change. All five of their guys were going to the bench and they thought they had enough time, but we were able to get all of our guys in [the zone] and get the goal.”