An early bombardment of goals made it easy for Saratoga to cruise to a win.
The Saratoga Blue Streaks varsity hockey defeated the Monroe-Woodbury Crusaders (Section 9) in the NYSPHSAA quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon at Weibel Avenue Ice Rink by a score of 5-0, clinching their ticket to the final four.
Saratoga got off to a fast start, with two quick goals, both coming from Jonathan Luse, making it 2-0 Saratoga before three minutes had been played. He had a huge game, also adding two assists.
“That got the momentum going our way, and it’s always good to jump on a team early and get the lead, it definitely set them back on their feet a little bit,” Luse said.
Saratoga continued their early domination, scoring four goals in the first period and missing only one shot. The other two goals came from Elliott Hungerford and Colin Paton.
They would score one more goal in the second period, sealing the win.
The game had an emotional side to it, as this was the final game at home for five-year varsity captains Elliott Hungerford and Josh Dagle.
“To be a leader on this team, and going back (to states), it’s really exciting, and senior year, five years, you want to end it the right way,” Hungerford said.
Head Coach Dave Torres also made sure that seniors were getting late playing time at home, putting in senior backup goaltender Danny Hobbs for the third period.
“It was something we talked about in the locker room after the second period, playing the seniors in the third period, because it was their last time playing in a Saratoga uniform on this ice,” Torres said.
The Saratoga defense once again made it a quiet game at the defensive end, allowing the Crusaders to take only seven shots on goal, much less than what is usually allowed.
The game was also a rematch of last season’s matchup, as they met in the regionals last year, and Saratoga then defeated Monroe-Woodbury, that year 8-0.
Depth served as a major issue for Monroe-Woodbury. They only had 15 available skaters Saturday, as four players were out due to an outbreak of strep throat throughout the team, and two more players were out for other reasons. A key loss for the team was freshman star Paul McKeon, who did not play Saturday. Saratoga had 19 available skaters, plus four goaltenders.
Saratoga now advances to the state final four next weekend in Buffalo. They will look to avenge their state semifinal loss last season, and they will take on either West Genesee or Ithaca in the state semifinal. That game will be on Saturday, March 12th, being played at the HarborCenter in Buffalo. The state final will be played at the same venue the next day. Start times for both games have yet to be determined.
Jonathan Luse: 2 goals, 2 assists
Josh Dagle: 1 goal, 2 assists
Colin Paton: 1 goal, 1 assist
Elliott Hungerford: 1 goal, 1 assist
Jake Fauler: 2 assists
Brendan Coffey: 1 assist
Tom Fornabia: 5/5, 100% saved
Danny Hobbs: 2/2, 100% saved
Matthew McGee: 19/24, 79% saved
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