SCHENECTADY — The five-goal run in the second quarter was impressive, with two of those goals coming eight seconds apart, and all of them the by-product of a well-placed assist.
Niskayuna's work at the other end of the Union College field was impressive, too, during that 12-minute stretch when the defending Section II Class A champions laid the groundwork for another victory Saturday over longtime rival Shenendehowa.
"For me, it was defense," Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang said of the one aspect of the contest that pleased him the most. "Our goalie was awesome. If he's not on his game, maybe this game is a little different. Our defensive effort was the biggest point."
First-year starting goalkeeper Drew D'Allaird and his surrounding defensive cast anchored by veteran long sticks Nick Fraterrigo, Walter Ross and Julian Pigliavento blanked Shenendehowa in the second quarter and again in the third as part of a 14-2 Suburban Council win that left the Silver Warriors 3-0.
D'Allaird made five of his eight saves in a busy second frame when Niskayuna's lead went from 2-1 to 7-1. The first-quarter goal the junior netminder allowed, by Eric Makhatadze, was only the second he's given up in his three starts.
"He came up big at big times," Vorgang said. "That's what good goalies do. When you get a save and you go down and score, it's not a two-goal swing, but it feels like it."
Gabe Nish and Brock Behrman scored goals for Niskayuna before Makhatadze connected with 1:51 left in the opening stanza. Niskayuna strung together 11 goals before Shenendehowa got its second from Ely Bruhns with 8:08 left in the contest when reserves littered the field.
"Fraterrigo, Ross and Pigliavento started last year and they work well together," Vorgang said. "A big key for us is keeping them healthy."
Another key is sharpening up an offensive attack that is stocked with talent. Seven Niskayuna players scored goals Saturday, and five Silver Warriors finished with multiple points.
"We didn't shoot well early in the game. That has to change. Down the line, that could bite us," Vorgang said. "We have to get better with our movement and timing. Obviously we need to get better at getting ground balls between the boxes."
Still, Niskayuna did enough good things to beat Shenendehowa (2-1) again. The last time the teams met, in the 2018 Section II Class A title game, Niskayuna won 20-9 as part of its sprint to the state semifinals.
"We'll enjoy it today and try to keep getting better," Vorgang said.
Nish started and finished Niskayuna's five-goal second quarter and had an assist on a tally by David Guest. Finn McCullough had two goals in the flurry, and Behrman assisted on the final three goals.
Five different players scored in the third quarter as Niskayuna advantage grew to 12-1.
"We're all pretty unselfish," said Behrman, a freshman attackman. "We'll give it up if a guy has a good look."
Nish finished with four goals and two assists, McCullough notched four goals, Guest popped in two and Behrman had a goal with his four assists which upped his three-game total to nine helpers.
"This team has a lot of depth, and I like the fact that they're willing to share the ball," Vorgang said.
Niskayuna beat Albany 21-1 and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 18-5 before Saturday's game. Shenendehowa had opened its season with a 17-1 win over Colonie and an 11-10 overtime win against Saratoga Springs.
Shenendehowa 1 0 0 1 — 2
Niskayuna 2 5 5 2 — 14
Shenendehowa scoring: Makhatadze 1-0, Bruhns 1-1. Niskayuna scoring: Nish 4-2, Behrman 1-4, Padelford 1-1, Guest 2-0, McCullough 4-0, Brownell 1-0, O'Brien 1-0, Bach 0-1, King 0-1.
Goalkeepers: Shenendehowa, Aragones, 12 saves; Scavo, 4 saves. Niskayuna, D'Allaird, 8 saves; Frankel, 0 saves; Scardino, 0 saves.