Niskayuna vs. Shenendehowa: Warriors KO Plainsmen, 18-5
NISKAYUNA This time, Niskayuna didn’t let Shenendehowa get up from the mat.
Attackmen Luke Goldstock and Lucas Maloney combined for 11 goals, and Tyler Pantalone dominated the faceoff circle as the Silver Warriors soared past the Plainsmen, 18-5, in their first game since being tabbed the No. 1-ranked Class B team in the state.
“We really wanted to make a statement. We didn’t want to let down in this game after beating the former No. 1 team in the state,” Pantalone said of Saturday’s 10-9 victory at Jamesville-DeWitt. “We wanted to keep rolling.”
Niskayuna (10-0, 13-0) struck early and never relented in Wednesday’s Suburban Council contest in the rain, and ended Shenendehowa’s winning streak at 10 games. Niskayuna had beaten Shenendehowa (8-2, 10-2) in the season opener for both teams, 14-12, and built quarter leads of 6-2, 10-2 and 14-4 in the rematch.
Goldstock collected six goals and three assists, Maloney notched five goals, Ryan Lawson delivered three goals and Aidan O’Brien had four assists. Niskayuna’s 18 goals came on 39 shots.
“I was super concerned with today. Shenendehowa has a good coach and good players,” said Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang. “Today was one of those games. Everything went our way.”
“That’s always the fear when you play Niskayuna,” said Shenendehowa coach Jason Gifford, a former Niskayuna assistant. “Now we’re going to see what the guys are made of. We play our rival Saratoga Friday and Lakeland Saturday, and then we have Ballston Spa and Shaker. We’re battling Shaker for the top [sectional] Class A seed. This is behind us, and now it’s time to bounce back.”
Shenendehowa did that in the early April game with Niskayuna when it sliced a 6-1 deficit to 12-10.
“In the last game, they came back. We made an emphasis before the second quarter to put them away,” said Maloney, who scored all five of his goals in the first half. “Before the third quarter, it was the same thing. Let’s put them away.”
Brian Rogers scored the first of his three goals to get Shenendehowa within 2-1 before Goldstock connected twice and Maloney connected twice. Goldstock and Lawson began the second-quarter scoring, and Maloney tacked on two more goals.
“It was 6-1 the last time we played, and they did a good job of coming back. I wasn’t comfortable with that,” Vorgang said of his team’s 6-2 advantage. “I encouraged the guys to continue to put the pressure on them and control the ball and execute.
“I felt a little better after the second quarter.”
Pantalone flourished in both halfs, and ended up winning 20 of the 25 faceoffs he took.
“I had a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth from the first game,” said Pantalone, a senior who has committed to Siena College. “I wanted to play my hardest and give it my all.”
“It’s tough to get on a roll when Tyler Pantalone is playing like that. We tried a couple of different looks, and he kept winning them,” said Gifford. “One of my keys for this game was to win faceoffs. We get the ball in our stick, and we get a little run going.”
Pantalone turned one of his faceoff wins into a goal when he scooped the ball, charged toward Shenendehowa netminder Ben Robbins and made good on a low blast.
“In the last game, I had a couple of opportunities to score. I shot wide twice,” said Pantalone. “Coming down the alley, I said to myself, ‘Don’t miss.’ Scoring that goal, that was special.”
Pantalone’s tally after one of his 10 ground balls capped a four-goal run that spanned the third and fourth quarters and gave Niskayuna a 16-4 advantage.
“It all started with faceoffs. Tyler was excellent today. He’s one of the toughest kids I have, and one of the toughest kids I’ve had the pleasure of knowing,” said Vorgang. “Winning faceoffs and genarating a lot of shots creates a lot of goals.”
Niskayuna’s faceoff wing group was led by Brian Melius, John Prendergast, Cam Pierce and Reed Avveduti. Prendergast had an assist to go with five ground balls.
“My wings got every ground ball that I put out there,” said Pantalone.
“You can’t win unless you have the ball,” said Maloney, who’ll play next year at Penn State. “Tyler did a great job, and the wings did a great job of pushing the ball.”
Evan Quinn made eight saves and gave up four goals. Niskayuna held Shenendehowa scoreless for a stretch of over 20 minutes from the first to the third quarters.
Niskayuna was ranked No. 2 by the New York State Sportswriters Association before dealing Jamesville-DeWitt its first loss. Shenendehowa entered Wednesday’s game with a No. 7 state Class A rank.
Shenendehowa 2 0 2 1 — 5
Niskayuna 6 4 4 4 — 18
Shenendehowa soring: Brian Rogers 3-0, Peter Sacks 1-0, D.J. Edick 0-1, Kyle Marr 1-0, Nick Arnold 0-1. Niskayuna scoring: Lucas Maloney 5-0, Mike D’Amario 1-2, Luke Goldstock 6-3, Aidan O’Brien 0-4, Ryan Lawson 3-0, John Prendergast 0-1, Tyler Pantalone 1-0, Matt DiVietro 1-1, Brandon Melius 1-0.
Goalkeepers: Shenendehowa, Ben Robbins, 7 saves. Niskayuna, Evan Quinn, 8 saves; Nick Testa, 1 save.