As the Section II ice hockey season reaches its stretch run, several teams are in contention for the Delvecchio Cup, while others are looking to move up and enhance their seeding for the playoffs.
Here's are a few things to know.
A VIEW FROM THE TOP
The Capital District High School Hockey League's top teams are currently Bethlehem (7-2 league, 11 points, 12-2 overall), Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa (6-2, 9, 9-3), Albany Academy (6-2, 8, 8-3), Queensbury (4-2, 8, 8-4), Saratoga Springs (6-3, 7, 10-4) and Shenendehowa (4-2, 6, 8-4-1).
Bethlehem owns the Delvecchio Cup as the league's defending regular-season champion, and picked up a huge win Wednesday when it rallied from three goals down to beat Saratoga 6-3.
WHO IS HOT
Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa and Bethlehem have both won three in a row and six of their last seven games. Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa's hot streak includes victories over Bethlehem and Shenendehowa. Saratoga had won five straight before Wednesday's setback. Albany Academy had strung eight consecutive wins before recent losses against La Salle and CBA.
Albany Academy is playing in the CDHSHL for the first time since the 1996-97 season, when it captured both league and Section II Division 1 titles.
Round 2 between longtime rivals Shenendehowa and Saratoga will take place Jan. 30 on the Blue Streaks' home ice. Saratoga took the first game 5-3 behind Mack Ogden's two goals. Other key matchups on the horizon include Bethlehem at Albany Academy (Feb. 1), Albany Academy at Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa (Feb. 2), Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa at Bethlehem (Feb. 8) and Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa at Saratoga (Feb. 13).
The Section II tournament begins Feb. 16. The Division 1 title game is scheduled for Feb. 24 at Union College.
As Section II's lone Division 2 team, Queensbury gets an automatic trip to the state regionals. Queensbury notched its eighth win Tuesday by beating Adirondack 2-1 in the annual Stick Game that matches the northern rivals. Brendan Duffy's second-period goal broke a 1-1 tie in what was the Spartans' third straight win in the series.
MUCH TO PLAY FOR
CBA (4-4, 5, 6-6) and La Salle (3-6, 5, 4-8-1) are tied for seventh in the league standings, and Niskayuna/Schenectady/Albany (3-4-1, 4.5, 4-7-1) and the GMSVS Storm (3-5-1, 4.5, 5-7-2) are tied for ninth. Down the stretch, each of them will be striving for both a winning record and the highest sectional seed possible.
CBA owns a 5-3 win against La Salle, and they meet again Feb. 6. The Storm owns a 9-1 win over Niskayuna/Schenectady/Albany, while the two teams also played to a 3-3 tie.
Bethlehem has Section II's top three point producers in junior Michael Bievenue (25-17-42), junior Justin Chenaille (19-19-38) and senior Connor Carroll (13-18-31). Bievenue's league-leading 25 goals includes two four-goal games and a trio of hat tricks. Chenaille has six multi-assist games as part of his league-leading 19.
Section II's other points leaders are Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa senior Miles Grabb (17-10-27), Albany Academy senior Anthony Sericolo (16-8-24) and Shenendehowa senior Brennan Alheim (11-9-20).
Shenendehowa junior goalkeeper Kent Leighton leads Section II with a .917 save percentage, and Queensbury senior netminder Owen Smith leads Section II with a 1.89 goal-against average.