CARS HOMES JOBS

Despite losses, Plainsmen should be hockey contenders again

Friday, November 21, 2008
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Shenendehowa hockey coach Juan de la Rocha is a glass-half-full type of guy.

Rather than dwell on the loss of his top three scorers and No. 1 goalie, he’s focused on the challenge of the Plainsmen winning a seventh straight Section II Division I championship.

“We lost 11 seniors, but I’m excited about the guys we have back, who have been playing in the shadows of some great players,” said de la Rocha. “What they haven’t had is a chance to prove themselves.”

They’ll have plenty of opportun­ities this year as the Plainsmen, who put together a 21-3-3 campaign that ended with a shootout loss to West Genesee in the New York state regional final, rebuild an offense that lost the top three scorers in the Capital District High School Hockey League — Jesse Elliot

(22-32-54), Adam Hitchko (31-18-49) and Bryan Hunter (19-24-43). The top returning scorer is senior AJ Mangino (14-25-39), but defenseman Scott Brayden (8-14-22) and junior Alec Pacheco (8-12-20) are proven offensive threats.

Five of the starting six defenseman, including Brayden and captain Kyle Hunter, return, and although No. 1 goalie Nathan Mellow grad­uated, both junior Peter Rakowsky and sophomore Jared Frazer are “capable of handling the starting job,” according to de la Rocha.

“We’ll have more depth and consistency in the lineup than we’ve had in the last five years,” said de la Rocha. “That can be just as much a weapon as having two or three guys who are well-known.

“I think we have the makeup to be in the sectionals again, and play for the championship.”

LaSalle, which handed Shenendehowa one of its three losses last year, only to lose the Plainsmen in the Section II championship game two weeks later, has to replace goalie Brendan Wagner, who is playing junior hockey this season. Wagner was the top goalie in the CDHSHL last year after compiling a 1,51 goals-against average with a .939 save percentage.

“We lost 10 players to graduation, so depth will be a question mark,” said Cadets coach Tim Flanigan.

Depth will also be a problem for Niskayuna/Schenectady, but the Mohawks return all-league defenseman Mike Casey (11-18-29) and will have a balanced offense sparked by seniors Mike Tenenboym (9-21-30) and Ryan Grant (12-11-23).

The Mohawks will also be breaking in a new goalie — Ben Phillips. “As he goes, we’ll go,” said Mohawks coach Todd Templeton.

Christian Brothers Academy will have one of the top defenses in the league, anchored by all-Div­ision I goalie Andrew Blood (2.15 GAA, .910 save percentage) and all-league defenseman Andrew Sellner. But scoring could be a problem, as Sellner (5-3-8) is also the top returning scorer.

Mohonasen/Schalmont senior winger Kyle McKelvey should be in the thick of the battle for the CDHSHL scoring title. One of the most underrated players in the league, McKelvey finished sixth in the league in scoring last year (24-15-39), but wasn’t named on any of the postseason all-star teams.

BETHLEHEM

Head coach: Dick Hughes.

Home rink: Bethlehem Area YMCA.

Nickname: Eagles.

Last year’s record: 8-6-0 CDHSHL, 13-11-1 overall.

Players to watch: Alex Cooper, junior, goalie; Harrison Lane, senior, forward; Stephen Russo, junior forward; Erik Hill, senior forward; Paul Hospodar, senior, defense.

BURNT HILLS/SCOTIA

Head coach: Walt Peretti.

Home rink: Messa Rink (Union College).

Nickname: Spartans.

Last year’s record: 3-9-2, 7-14-2.

Players to watch: Greg Dwyer, senior, defenseman; Trevor Herrick, senior forward; Roland Marlow, senior goalie; Max Munsey, junior forward; Jordan Beck, junior forward.

CHRISTIAN BROTHERS ACADEMY

Head coach: Mike LaRose

Home rink: Albany County Hockey Facility.

Nickname: Brothers.

Last year’s record: 5-8-3, 7-13-6.

Players to watch: Andrew Blood, junior, goalie; Will Cassin, sophomore forward; Andrew Sellner, senior defense; Pat Raike, senior forward; T.J. Lang, senior, forward.

GLENS FALLS

Head coach: Mike DiFiore.

Home rink: Glens Falls Recreation Center.

Nickname: Indians.

Last year’s record: 7-5-0, 12-13-0.

Players to watch: Ryan Brown, senior, forward; Matt Mason, senior, forward/defense; Kyle Kelly, senior, forward/defense; Jack Bulmer, senior forward.

GUILDERLAND

Head coach: John deRubertis.

Home rink: Messa Rink (Union College).

Nickname: Dutchmen.

Last year’s record: 12-3-0, 13-10-1.

Players to watch: Collin Burg, senior, forward; Dan Dickinson, senior, forward; Joe Romano, senior, forward; Tony Liguori, junior, forward; Greg Warnken, junior, forward; Mark Knowlton, freshman, forward.

LASALLE

Head coach: Tim Flanigan.

Home rink: Hudson Valley Community College.

Nickname: Cadets.

Last year’s record: 12-5-1, 16-9-2.

Players to watch: Kevin Syrotynski, sen­ior, defense; Will Kiley, senior, defense; Mitch Wacholder, junior, forward; Cam Colloton, senior, forward; Vince Planz, junior, forward; Alex Verchereau, sophomore, forward.

MOHONASEN/SCHALMONT

Head coach: Steve Brown.

Home rink: Schenectady County Recreational Facility.

Nickname: Thundering Herd.

Last year’s record: 2-12-0, 4-19-0.

Players to watch: Kyle McKelvey, senior, forward; Petter Lundgren, senior, forward; Derek Mundweiler, senior, defense; Andrew Mundweiler, freshman, forward.

NISKAYUNA/SCHENECTADY

Head coach: Todd Templeton.

Home rink: Schenectady County Recreational Facility.

Nickname: Mohawks.

Last year’s record: 8-5-1, 16-8-1.

Players to watch: Mike Casey, senior, defense; Greg Ducharme, senior, forward; Ryan Grant, senior, forward; Mike Tenenboym, senior, forward; Chris Farah, senior, forward.

QUEENSBURY

Head coach: Dean Williams.

Home rinks: Glens Falls Civic Center and Glens Falls Recreation Center.

Nickname: Spartans.

Last year’s record: 10-2-1, 23-2-2.

Players to watch: Kevin Corbett, senior, forward; Ken Hand, senior forward; Kevin Valenti, sophomore, forward; Adam Snyder, senior, defense; Anthony Soprano,

junior, defense; Lucas Hay, junior, defense.

SARATOGA SPRINGS

Head coach: Mike Ricupero.

Home rink: Saratoga City Ice Rink (Weibel Avenue).

Nickname: Blue Streaks.

Last year’s record: 5-12-1, 7-16-3 overall.

Players to watch: Billy Mosso, senior, defense; Ryan Lee, junior, defense; Steve Cash, junior forward; Justin Wormley,

junior forward; Cody Nizolek, junior forward.

SHAKER/COLONIE

Head coach: Steve Hudak.

Home rink: Albany County Hockey Facility.

Nickname: Jets.

Last year’s record: 4-8-2, 8-14-3.

Players to watch: Ryan Phillips. junior, forward; Corey Brustle, junior, forward; Matthew Vetrone, senior, forward.

SHENENDEHOWA

Head coach: Juan de la Rocha.

Home rink: Clifton Park Arena.

Nickname: Plainsmen.

Last year’s record: 13-1-1, 21-2-3.

Players to watch: Kyle Hunter, senior, defense; AJ Mangino, senior, forward; Scott Brayden, senior, defense; Alec

Pacheco, junior, forward; Peter Rakowsky, junior, goalie.

SOUTH GLENS FALLS

Head coach: Derrek Tuthill.

Home rink: Glens Falls Civic Center.

Nickname: Bulldogs.

Last year’s record: 0-13-0, 1-20-0.

Players to watch: Kyle Ball, senior, forward; Evan Greenwald, senior, goalie; Tim Boller, junior, defense.

 
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