Momentum can change quickly in hockey.
Capitalizing on an advantageous call, Shenendehowa stunned Shaker/Colonie with a pair of short-handed first-period goals Friday night and skated off with a 9-2 win in a Section II Division I semifinal at Clifton Park Arena.
Two-time defending champ Saratoga Springs also won its semifinal, setting up a rematch of last winter’s championship game.
That game will be played Thursday at 7 p.m. at Union College.
With Shenendehowa holding a 2-1 lead in the frantic early stages, the Jets appeared to tie the game after a scramble in front of Plainsmen goalie Brian Walter.
Instead, the goal was waved off when the goal was ruled to have been dislodged. The Plainsmen took full advantage of the break, as 11th-graders Brad Tardif and Kevin Miles scored short-handed goals before the first period was over.
“It looked like they had tied the game, but the net was knocked off,” said Shenendehowa coach Juan de la Rocha, whose team improved to 13-9-0. “Then we get a pair of short-handed goals. That was a huge swing.
“It went from being a 2-2 game to us being able to go up two goals.”
Tardif, who gave the Plainsmen a 2-1 lead 3:10 into the game, agreed.
“They thought they had tied it, and instead, we end up leading, 4-1 after the first period,” he said. “The short-handed goals really changed the momentum.”
“The short-handed goals changed the game,” said Miles, who assisted on Tardif’s goal, and got his own 2:11 later. “We came out fast, really excited about playing in the sectional semifinals.
“We get a goal, they tie it, we go back ahead and it looks like they tied the game again. Instead, we come back and get two short-handed goals and took control.”
“They [the short-handed goals] changed the game,” said senior co-captain Joe Ferraro, who scored the middle of his team’s three goals in the second period. “We came out and got a quick goal, but even when they tied it, we just had to stay positive and focused. There was a lot of time left.”
A lot of time to add goals as the Plainsmen matched their season high. All but five Shenendehowa skaters had at least one point, with Miles and Tardif both finishing with three points.
“That’s how we’ve played all season,” said de la Rocha. “We don’t have that one big goal scorer. Everyone contributes.”
“That’s a big part of our success,” said Ferraro. “Teams can’t just shut down one line.”
The Mortka brothers, Ryan and Brandon, combined to get the Plainsmen on the board 61 seconds in. Jordan Vetrone pulled the Jets even 11 seconds later before Tardif scored his first of the game 4:10 in.
Miles set up Peter Sacks for a drive from the top of the left circle to make it 5-1 midway through the second, and Ferraro’s goal with 5:09 left in the middle period knocked Jets’ goalkeeper Kodi Riddell out of the game.
Tardif got possession and skated behind the Jets’ goal before throwing the puck to Sacks at the right point. Sacks immediately fired a pass across the top of the zone to Ferraro, whose one-timer beat Riddell cleanly.
“That was just two great passes, and I was able to just one-time the shot,” said Ferraro, who also helped hold the Jets’ top line of Joey Chiara, Eric Egan and Mike Mineau to one point.
Senior co-captain Eric Chamberland made it 7-1 after 30 minutes, then Riley Irving and Max Papele added third period goals.
Now the Plainsmen are right where they want to be.
“We wanted to play Saratoga again,” said Miles. “They beat us in the final last year, and we split our games this year. It’s a big rivalry for us.”
“The loss to the finals to them last year still hurts,” said Ferraro. “This is what we wanted, one more game with Saratoga.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Mike Layman scored the tying goal with 64 seconds left in the third period before Nick Winter’s overtime tally lifted top-seeded Saratoga Springs past Christian Brothers Academy, 3-2, at Vernon Arena.
Winters had an assist on Layman’s clutch goal before he delivered his own 3:59 into overtime, that one coming after passes from Tyler Bullard and Devin Smith.
Second-period goals by John Bassett and Zach Swanteck gave CBA (10-11-1) a 2-1 advantage. The Blue Streaks (16-6) rallied to beat the Brothers for the third time this season, and earned an opportunity to defend their Section II championship.
SHENENDEHOWA 9, SHAKER/COLONIE 2
Shaker/Colonie 1 0 1 — 2
Shenendehowa 4 3 2 — 9
First period — 1, Shen, Brandon Mortka (Ryan Mortka), 1:01. 2, S/C, Jordan Vetrone (Tyler Smith), 1:12. 3, Shen, Brad Tardif, 3:10. 4, Tardif (Kevin Miles), 7:20 (sh). 5, Miles, 9:21 (sh).
Second period — 6, Shen, Peter Sacks (Miles), 6:23. 7, Shen, Joe Ferraro (Sacks, Tardif), 9:51. 8, Shen, Eric Chamberland, 12:59.
Third period — 9, Shen, Riley Irving (Peter Russo), :57. 10, S/C, Sean Leach (Mike Mineau, Jake Juron), 1:30. 11, Shen, Max Papele (Adam Beairsto, Nick Quigley), 5:45.
Goaltenders — Shaker/Colonie, Kodi Riddell, 9 saves; Zach Dignum, 3 saves. Shenendehowa, Brian Walter, 15 saves; Matt Cologgi, 11 saves.
SARATOGA SPRINGS 3, CBA 2 (OT)
CBA 0 2 0 0 — 2
Saratoga 0 1 1 1 — 3
First period — None.
Second period — 1, Sara, Brendan Wormley (Alex Luse), :56; 2, CBA, John Bassett (Zach Swanteck, Evan Van Epps), 2:37; 3, CBA, Swanteck (Bassett, Van Epps), 6:22.
Third period — 4, Sara, Mike Layman (Nick Winters, Luse), 13:56.
Overtime — 5, Sara, Winters (Tyler Bullard, Devin Smith), 3:59.
Goaltenders — CBA, Dakota Smith, 32 saves. Saratoga Springs, Ryan Bourgeois, 7 saves.