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What you need to know for 04/24/2017

Pieces fall into place for Shenendehowa

Pieces fall into place for Shenendehowa

If senior leadership is a barometer for success, Shenendehowa is in for a big year.

If senior leadership is a barometer for success, Shenendehowa is in for a big year.

The Plainsmen return a dozen seniors from last year’s team, which finished with a 13-7-2 record, and have filled what had been one big void.

The only question mark Shenendehowa coach Juan de la Rocha had during the offseason was replacing goalie Peter Rakowski. But he won’t have that problem anymore. Brett Bernardo, the No. 1 goalie at LaSalle last season, is now with the Plainsmen.

“Brett was in our system as a sixth-grader, and then he transferred to LaSalle,” said de la Rocha. “Now, he’s back with us, and he’s projected to be our No. 1 guy.”

Senior co-captain Mike McCarthy (13-13-26), a first-team all-Division I selection last year, is Shenendehowa’s top returning forward, while seniors Matt Dempsey (14-15-29), Tyler Ballentine and 6-foot-3, 225-pound Andy Plewinski will anchor the defense.

“I like our balance and exper­ience,” said de la Rocha.

Bernardo’s transfer is just one of many changes in the Cap­ital District High School Hockey League this season. Mohonasen has merged with Guilderland, and Christian Brothers Academy has a new coach, but the biggest change will in the two divisions.

This year, adhering to state regulations, the CDHSHL will be broken up based strictly on enrollment. In the past, the league was broken up based on team strength, in an attempt to form two equal divisions.

Because of the new state guidelines, Division I will now consist of 10 teams, and the only teams left in Division II are Glens Falls and South Glens Falls/Hudson Falls. Bethlehem, Queensbury and Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa will all move to Division I.

The move up may not be all that hard for Queensbury, which lost to New Hartford, 5-2, in the New York state Division II championship game last year. The Spartans have their top two lines intact, and also return their four top defensemen. Senior Kevin Valenti led Section II in overall scoring last year with 57 points (36-21), and seniors Brian Frederick (18-16-34) and Connor Potvin (6-25-31) also topped the 30-point mark.

Queensbury also has one of the league’s top goalies in Dylan Hafner (1,98 goals-against average, .906 save percentage).

Saratoga Springs advanced to the Division I state championship game last year, losing to West Genesee, 3-0, in the finals, and the Blue Streaks lost their top three scorers. But Streaks coach Mike Ricupero isn’t conceding anything.

“We’re very fortunate because we had 46 kids try out this year,” Ricupero said. “We lost 12 seniors, so it’s going to be tough. But we’ve got to move forward.”

Seniors Dan Going (7-12-19) and Tristan Sperry (10-13-23) will lead the offense, while senior Luke

Fauler is one of the top defensemen in the league. The Streaks have to find a replacement for goalie Graeme Bulmer.

Mohonasen has dropped its affilation with Schalmont, and will now merge with Guilderland, a switch that should really help the Dutchmen.

“We picked up some good players,” said Dutchmen coach John DeRubertis. “One of the kids from Mohonasen, Brandan Glasser, will probably be one of the top juniors in the league this year.”

Glasser, who was Mohonasen’s leading scorer last year with 21 points (15-6), will join an offense that already includes Ryan Ghizzoni (8-8-16), Jared Kline (4-7-11) and Conor Hurley (6-4-10).

The merger will also give the Dutchmen some depth, as there are 20 players on the roster.

Although Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa will be young on defense, the Spartans’ offense includes junior Chase Godfrey (5-14-1), and junior Ian Koupash returns in goal.

Niskayuna/Schenectady had the youngest team in the league last season, and the experience the young players gained can only help this season. Senior Sam Hartz (25-12-27) will lead the offense, while junior goalie Peter Mrazik will anchor the defense.

BETHLEHEM

Head coach: Andre Rodrigue.

Last year’s record: 14-3-2 CDHSHL, 15-4-2 overall.

Home rink: Bethlehem Area YMCA.

Top returning players: Patrick Miron, senior goale; Nick Parente, junior defenseman; Ben Grace, senior forward; Steven Sanchez, senior forward; Sam Vincent, junior forward; John Gostolla, junior forward.

BURNT HILLS-BALLSTON LAKE/

BALLSTON SPA

Head coach: Walt Peretti.

Last year’s record: 3-9-1 CDHSHL, 5-16-1 overall.

Home rink: Messa Rink at Union College.

Top returning players: Chase Godfrey, junior forward; Ian Koupash, junior goalie; Ryan Cullen, senior forward; Matt Gaudin, senior forward; Troy LaBelle, senior forward; Clark Grabb, junior defenseman; Nick Hart, junior defenseman; Chris de la Rocha, junior defenseman.

CHRISTIAN BROTHERS ACADEMY

Head coach: Jason Tapp.

Last year’s record: 5-11-0 CDHSHL, 6-15-0 overall.

Home rink: Albany County Hockey Facility.

Top returning players: Steve Basile, senior forward; Dean McMahon, senior forward; Ted Meybaum, senior defenseman; Dave Wilgocki, senior defenseman.

GLENS FALLS

Head coach: Mike DiFiore.

Last year’s record: 9-3-2 CDHSHL, 13-5-3 overall.

Home rink: Glens Falls Recreation Center.

Top returning players: James Rizzo, junior forward; Nick McKinney, junior forward; Paul Bennett, senior forward; Alex Wright, junior defenseman; Josh Hill, senior goalie.

GUILDERLAND/MOHONASEN

Head coach: John DeRubertis.

Last year’s record: 6-9-0 CDHSHL, 7-13-1 overall.

Home rink: Messa Rink at Union College.

Top returning players: Conor Hurley, senior forward; Ryan Ghizzoni, junior forward; Jared Kline, senior forward; Mike Alsante, senior goalie; Nigel Simmons, junior goalie; Bram Peterson, junior defenseman; Dan Alejandro, junior defenseman.

LASALLE

Head coach: Tim Flanigan.

Last year’s record: 9-10-0 CDHSHL,

10-12-0 overall.

Home rink: Hudson Valley Community College.

Top returning players: Alex Verchereau, senior forward; Nolan Crowley, senior forward; Matt Wagner, junior forward; Colin Maneen, senior defenseman; Ryan Franceschi, junior goalie.

NISKAYUNA/SCHENECTADY

Head coach: Todd Templeton.

Last year’s record: 2-9-2 CDHSHL, 4-15-2 overall.

Home rink: Schenectady County Rec­reational Facility.

Top returning players: Sam Hartz, sen­ior forward; Lucas Maloney, sophomore forward; Peter Mrazik, junior goalie; David House, senior defenseman.

QUEENSBURY

Head coach: Dean Williams.

Last year’s record: 8-3-1 CDHSHL, 17-8-1 overall.

Home rink: Lake George Forum.

Top returning players: Kevin Valenti, senior forward; Connor Potvin, senior forward; Brian Frederick, senior forward; Brandon Edwards, junior forward; Brad Willows, junior forward; John Countryman, junior forward; Taylor Cooke, senior defenseman; Nick Soprano, senior defenseman; Brian DeSimone, senior defenseman; Dylan Hafner, senior goalie.

SARATOGA SPRINGS

Head coach: Mike Ricupero.

Last year’s record: 13-1-1 CDHSHL, 19-5-1 overall.

Home rink: Saratoga City Ice Rink.

Top returning players: Dan Going, senior forward; Luke Fauler, senior defenseman; Tristan Sperry, senior forward; Alex Luse, junior forward; Ryan Bourgeois, junior goalie.

SHAKER/COLONIE

Head coach: Steve Hudak.

Last year’s record: 8-4-1 CDHSHL, 14-7-2 overall.

Home rink: Albany County Hockey Facility.

Top returning players: Chris Cusack, senior forward; Joe Chiara, junior forward; Stephen Reilly, senior goalie.

SHENENDEHOWA

Head coach: Juan de la Rocha.

Last year’s record: 11-2-2 CDHSHL, 13-7-2 overall.

Home rink: Clifton Park Arena.

Top returning players: Mike McCarthy, senior forward; Matt Dempsey, senior forward; T.J. Goodwin, senior forward; Tyler Ballentine, senior defenseman; Andy Plewinski, senior defenseman; Brian Walter, sophomore goalie; Kyle Donahue, senior goalie.

SOUTH GLENS FALLS/HUDSON FALLS

Head coach: Derrek Tuthill.

Last year’s record: 2-13-0 CDHSHL, 3-17-1 overall.

Home rink: Glens Falls Civic Center.

Top returning players: Zach Viele, senior forward; Alex Rabenold, senior forward; Joey Naylor, senior defenseman; Kam LaPan, senior forward.

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