The announcer at Friday’s hockey game noted that the temperature outside would reach minus 20 F that night, while the temperature inside was “a balmy 25.” The atmosphere in the Glens Falls Recreation Center rink seemed warmer still, with a tense game culminating in a 3-3 tie after overtime between the Saratoga Blue Streaks and Glens Falls/Hudson Falls/South Glens Falls Rivermen.
“We didn’t come to play. We came out flat and didn’t pick it up until it was too late,” said sophomore forward Elliott Hungerford, who assisted two of the goals. “Coach (Dave Torres) said that some changes are going to be made. I think we got away from playing our style of hockey and started to play theirs. Our focus wasn’t entirely there and it hurt us.”
The outcome of the game perhaps meant more for the Rivermen than it did for Saratoga, boosting the newly-formed team to fourth place in the Capital District High School Hockey League. The Rivermen are 2-0-1 within the league and 2-6-2 overall; they have blanked the #3 team, Bethlehem, in addition to tying #1 Saratoga. Also, the three Rivermen goalies are all in the CDHSHL’s top four by save percentage, and goalie Sean Kuhn ’15 leads the league in saves with 206.
JT Rafferty ’15, who scored the goal to tie during the third period and is the Blue Streaks’ leading scorer this season with a one goal per-game average, agreed with Hungerford’s assessment.
“We came out really flat in the first period…we battled back though, which was big. It was a 2-point game we couldn’t afford to lose,” said Rafferty. Saratoga let in only one goal after the end of the first period, but slow starts have emerged as a trend for the team.
Torres was happy with the state of Saratoga’s defense, however.
“The defensemen are playing great,” he told The Saratogian. “Brendan Coffey, Nick Conchieri, Ian Frey…they’re playing great hockey right now. They’re carrying our team and when you get scoring out of defensemen, that’s a great thing.” Both Frey and Coffey scored in Friday’s game, and the defense killed two Rivermen power plays.
Indeed, the tendency to start slow has shown more in the offense than the defense. While their opponents (this season) score an average of 0.7 goals in the first period and 0.6 in the third, the Blue Streaks make an average of 1.3 goals in the first and 1.8 in the third. This means the Streaks’ offense is about 38 percent better in the third period than in the first.
The Blue Streaks remain undefeated within CDHSHL, while the only other league team able to tie them was Shenendehowa, which has historically been one of the league’s top teams. However, their performance against the out-of-section teams that they may meet again in playoffs has been mediocre. Next week, the Blue Streaks travel to Bethlehem for what will perhaps be some of their toughest competition yet.
“That’s a tough game, you don’t know what you’re going to get with (Bethlehem),” Torres said. “That’s another important two-point game…but kudos to (the Rivermen), they played a good game.”
“The good thing is we took some things we need to work on out of (Friday’s) game which will help us get better,” Rafferty added.