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Blue Streaks hockey defeats Bethlehem to advance to sectional final

Bethlehem's Nicholas Breiner checks Saratoga's JT Rafferty during the final period of Friday's game. Breiner would receive a game misconduct near the end of the game.

Bethlehem’s Nicholas Breiner checks Saratoga’s JT Rafferty during the final period of Friday’s game. Breiner would receive a game misconduct near the end of the game.

Saturday, February 21, 2015 by Aidan Joly Photos by Eli Fisher

A strong third period, including a goal in the final eight seconds, and a dominating performance from the defense led to a big Saratoga win.

The Saratoga Blue Streaks defeated the Bethlehem Eagles on Friday night at the Weibel Avenue ice rink by a score of 5-2.

The game began with a scoreless first period, but Saratoga struck first with a goal from captain Elliott Hungerford three minutes into the second period. The Eagles then answered eight minutes later tying the game at one after two periods had been played.

“They had a rough first period, and really didn’t turn it on until the third period,” Blue Streaks head coach Dave Torres said of his team.

The Streaks tallied three times in the final 15 minutes, the first coming from Jake Fauler almost halfway into the period.

“It’s not a one-man game, there’s five guys on the ice,” Fauler said. “So we all have to do our part.”

Fauler’s goal made it 3-2 Saratoga. They added a fourth goal two minutes later off a Josh Dagle shot.

Bethlehem head coach Andre Rodrique said of his team’s game, “We played tight for two periods of hockey, we stuck to our game plan, and just kind of fell apart at the end.”

The Blue Streaks outshot the Eagles 15-1 in the third period.

“That shows the depth of our bench, and it shows the physical shape our kids are in,” Torres said of the final period.

Saratoga was able to stay out of the penalty box throughout the game, only getting called for two penalties during the game, continuing a season-long trend of minimal time in the box. Bethlehem got called for four penalties during the game, one of which was a game misconduct.

Saratoga’s final goal of the game came with just over seven seconds remaining in the game, coming from JT Rafferty. Bethlehem senior captain Nicholas Breiner received the game misconduct after the goal, resulting in an automatic ejection from the game.

“Kid’s seasons are over,” Rodrique said, “and it was frustrating.”

The win will send Saratoga to the Section 2 finals, and will take on either Burnt Hills or Shenendehowa, whichever wins a game being played Saturday. The sectional finals will be played Thursday, February 26 at Union College’s Messa Rink.

FINAL STATS
Saratoga:
Cam McCall, 2 assists
Elliott Hungerford, 1 goal, 1 assist
Jake Fauler, 1 goal, 1 assist
JC Rafferty, 1 goal
Jack Rittenhouse, 1 goal
Josh Dagle, 1 goal
Tom Pelletier, 1 assist
Ian Frey, 1 assist

Bethlehem:
Hayes Meredith, 1 goal
Nick Hospodar, 1 goal
Mike Lemieux, 2 assists
Thomas Leibold, 1 assist

Goaltending:
Saratoga (Danny Hobbs): 13/15, 87% saved
Bethlehem (Carl Cusack): 26/31, 84% saved

Click on any image for full size.

Bethlehem captain Nicholas Breiner, center, knocks down a Saratoga player during faceoff after Saratoga's goal in the last eight seconds of the game. Breiner would receive a game misconduct.

Bethlehem captain Nicholas Breiner, center, knocks down a Saratoga player during faceoff after Saratoga’s goal in the last eight seconds of the game. Breiner would receive a game misconduct.

Bethlehem's Ned Engelbride, left, fights for the puck with Saratoga's Jake Fauler. Fauler scored the first goal in Saratoga's strong third period.

Bethlehem’s Ned Engelbride, left, fights for the puck with Saratoga’s Jake Fauler. Fauler scored the first goal in Saratoga’s strong third period.

The Saratoga Blue Streaks celebrate after their sectional semifinal win.

The Saratoga Blue Streaks celebrate after their sectional semifinal win.

Saratoga defenseman Garret Smith carries the puck behind the net.

Saratoga defenseman Garret Smith carries the puck behind the net.

The Blue Streaks celebrate after Elliott Hungerford's second period goal, the first of the game.

The Blue Streaks celebrate after Elliott Hungerford’s second period goal, the first of the game.

Bethlehem goalie Carl Cusack grabs an errant puck during Friday's game. The Streaks peppered Cusack with 31 shots during the game.

Bethlehem goalie Carl Cusack grabs an errant puck during Friday’s game. The Streaks peppered Cusack with 31 shots during the game, 15 of which came during the final period.

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