SCHENECTADY Three-peat. Hat trick.
No matter what you call it, just be sure to call Saratoga Springs a three-time Section II hockey champion.
The top-seeded Blue Streaks, honored before the game for winning the Capital District High School Hockey League regular-season title, added a third consecutive Section II Division I championship plaque with a 5-1 win over rival Shenendehowa at Union College Thursday night.
Mike Layman scored two goals and added an assist, Nick Winters had a pair of goals, Brendon Wormley assisted on two goals and was a rock on defense, and
senior goaltender Ryan Bourgeois turned aside 36 of 37 shots as the 17-6-0 Blue Streaks advanced to next weekend’s regional final against either Thousand Islands/Alexandria Bay or Massena, who play for the Section X title on Sunday.
“Unbelievable. Just unbelievable,” said Wormley after he and his teammates finished their traditional victory lap. “Ryan Bourgeois played a great game. He’s the best.”
Winters scored his 16th goal of the season, a power-play score 4:46 into the game, and Layman scored 2:14 later, as the Blue Streaks dominated the start of the game.
“We knew we had to come out flying and put them on their heels. The two quick goals were huge,” said Bourgeois, who was the game’s most important player over the last 30 minutes.
Brandon Mortka cut the lead in half early in the second period, but Layman put an abrupt end to the Plainsmen’s celebration when he got his second goal of the game 30 seconds later.
“I was really excited about that second goal I scored. They felt like they had the momentum, and we took it from them right away,” he said. “That really deflated them.”
“Layman is the best player in the league,” said Saratoga Springs coach Dave Torres. “He’s the man.”
“The first seven minutes of the game hurt just as much as the third goal they scored after we had made it 2-1,” said Shenendehowa coach Juan de la Rocha, whose team fell to the Streaks in the final for the second straight year. “We dealt with the nerves a little bit longer than we wanted to. I like the way we finished the first period. From then on out, we were playing some pretty good hockey.”
But Bourgeois was better.
After seeing only seven shots in the first period, Bourgeois was superb as the Plainsmen turned up the pressure, putting 30 shots on net over the final 30 minutes.
“In a game like this, it’s your job as a goalie to stay focused and keep your head in the game,” Bourgeois said. “A lot of the shots from the point, and a lot of the shots from outside, I could see all the way, which helps a lot. Some shots I was just in the right position, but for the most part, I could see all of the shots. That’s thanks to the defense.”
“Bourgeois is the best goalie in the league, and he showed it tonight,” said Torres. “He played well. Here he is, in the spotlight, and that’s where he performs best.
“People say, ‘Oh, he only sees 10 shots a game.’ Well, he didn’t face 10 shots tonight.”
The Blue Streaks and Plainsmen split their regular-season games, both winning on home ice. That made Thursday’s win more special for Layman.
“This is everything I wanted as a high school player,” said Layman, a talented offensive player Torres moved to defense earlier this season. “And to beat Shen, it’s even better. They talk a lot off the ice, so I’m really happy to beat them.”
Shenendehowa 0 1 0 — 1
Saratoga Springs 2 1 2 — 5
First period — 1, Sara, Nick Winters (Mike Layman, Tyler Bullard), 4:46 (pp). 2, Sara, Layman, 7:00.
Second period — 3, Shen, Brandon Mortka, 3:33. 4, Sara, Layman (Bullard), 3:57.
Third period— 5, Sara, Winters (Brendon Wormley), 10:35 (pp). 6, Sara, Bret Merriman (Wormley), 11:32.
Goaltenders — Shenendehowa, Ryan Walter, 25 saves. Saratoga Springs, Ryan Bourgeois, 36 saves.