There is a tomorrow for the Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa hockey team.
In fact, it’s today.
Less than 24 hours after dispatching South Glens Falls/Hudson Falls, 4-0, Monday in their Section II Division I playoff opener at the Schenectady County Recreational Facilty, the Spartans go to second-seeded Shenendehowa tonight as they try to extend their season.
“We knew what the schedule was coming into the tournament,” said BH/BS coach James Buffoline after watching his top line of Chase Godfrey, Nick VanLiew and Connor Lind get three of the goals and figure in all four as the Spartans improved to 8-11-2. “These guys all played youth hockey, so back-to-back games like that, I’m not concerned about.”
The seventh-seeded Spartans first had to get past a Bulldogs team that finished last in the league during the Capital District High School Hockey League season, and that they had beaten twice, 6-2 in their season opener and 8-0 in late December.
“We were concerned about that,” said Buffoline. “But any time you’re in the tournament, where if you win you advance and if you don’t, your season is over, the kids get ready.
“We beat that team, 8-0, two months ago. But Brian [Bulldogs’ coach Brian Bowe] has done a good job. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game like that. We did not take them lightly.
“Once you get into the playoffs, I think anyone can beat anyone. We told the kids not to take this game for granted. Whatever happened in December, happened in December. This was a whole new hockey team.
“We told the the kids they were going to come out hard, and they did. They kept it scoreless after the first period.”
The Bulldogs, who finished their season 1-20-0, did make it tough for the Spartans in the first 15 minutes, hanging back on defense and trying to clog up the passing lanes.
“We were hoping we could get a few early, but they played tough in the first period,” Buffoline. “We did get some late, which always pleases a coach.”
Godfrey opened the scoring midway through the second period, getting to a rebound to the left of Bulldogs’ goaltender Noah Price and sliding the puck inside the post.
Kyle Androlino, part of the Spartans’ second-line rotation, got a huge goal in the final 30 seconds of the middle period, beating the defense to a loose puck 10 feet in front of Price and pushing it into the goal.
“Out first line scores about
80 percent of our goals,” said Buffoline. “Our second line a really hard-working line. I think Androlino’s goal was the biggest of the game.”
Price worked hard to keep the score down, but the Spartans added two goals late in the third period.
Godfrey scored on a rush, cutting left to right and shooting back across the crease for his second of the game with 3:22 left. Lind got a goal with five seconds to play, with his team up two men.
“That line had a good game, and Connor Lind really had a good game,” said Buffoline.
Buffoline is looking forward to the challenge of the second-seeded Plainsmen. He’s also hoping that the emotion of the program’s first playoff win in a while will help.
“We’re very excited, because this was our first playoff win in a couple of years,” Buffoline said. “We played Shen last week, and we lost, 4-1. It was a good game.
“I think we can battle them. I think we match up with them, and I think the kids are excited for another chance to play Shen. We’re not afraid of Shen at all. I think we can give them a pretty good battle.”
In the other preliminary-round game, No. 8 seed LaSalle scored three times in the final period and topped No. 9 Guilderland/Mohonasen, 7-4, at Hudson Valley Community College.
Ben Gardenier had a goal and three assists for the Cadets (5-16-0), who will take on No. 1 seed Saratoga Springs in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Anthony DeMarte, Matt Wagner, Peter Hamlin, Nolan Brendese, Mason Goss and Adam Barna also notched goals.
Shane Shields scored twice for the Dutch Warriors, who finished the season with a 3-16-2 record.
BURNT HILLS/BALLSTON SPA 4,
SOUTH GLENS FALLS/HUDSON FALLS 0
SGF/HF 0 0 0 — 0
BH/BS 0 2 2 — 4
First period — No scoring.
Second period — 1, BH/BS, Chase Godfrey (Connor Lind, Nick VanLiew), 7:33. 2, BH/BS, Kyle Androlina (VanLiew, Lind), 14:32.
Third period — 3, BH/BS, Godfrey (VanLiew, Lind), 11:38. 4, BH/BS, Lind (Clark Grabb, Godfrey), 14:55 (pp).
Goaltenders — SGF/HF, Noah Price, 22 saves. BH/BS, Austin Clark, 22 saves.
Guilderland/Mohon. 2 1 1 — 4
LaSalle 1 3 3 — 7
First period — 1, G/M, Dan Alejandro (unassisted). 2, G/M, Shane Shields (Bram Peterson), pp. 3, LSI, Anthony DeMarte (Ben Gardenier), sh.
Second period — 4, LSI, Matthew Wagner (Gardenier). 5, LSI, Gardenier (unassisted). 6, G/M, Casey Trejo (Ryan Ghizzoni). 7, LSI, Peter Hamlin (Wagner, Gardenier).
Third period — 8, G/M, Shields (Trejo, Aaron Hull), pp. 9, LSI, Nolan Brendese (Jimmy McDonnell, Nick Karpovich). 10, LSI, Mason Goss (NicholasRai). 11, LSI, Adam Barna (Joe O’Bryan), en.
Goaltenders — Saves unvailable.