Shenendehowa vs. Saratoga Springs: Streaks rally to tie Plainsmen, 3-3
CLIFTON PARK Shenendehowa ended one drought against Saratoga Springs Wednesday night with a second-period goal, but another dry spell continued after
the Blue Streaks rallied late in a back-and-forth Capital District High School Hockey League game.
Elliott Hungerford scored with 1:32 left on a power play to give Saratoga a 3-3 tie with its longtime rival at Clifton Park Arena.
“We battled back as a team, and fortunately, we got the last goal,” Hungerford said after the Blue Streaks extended their unbeaten streak against the Plainsmen to six games. “It happened to be on my stick.”
Shenendehowa (1-1, 2-3) used third-period goals by Ryan Mortka and Cameron Kuhl to go up, 3-2. Kyle Marr had connected for the Plainsmen in the second period for their first tally against the Blue Streaks (3-0, 4-1) since a 5-1 loss in the 2012 Section II Division I title game.
“I’m sure they’re happy they finally broke the goal crease and scored a goal on us,” said Saratoga coach Dave Torres. “The ice is still tilted toward us. It’s still in our favor.”
Shenendehowa was 4:34 away from its first win against Saratoga since December of the 2011-12 season when Nick Quigley was called for a four-minute major on a hit from behind. Hungerford scored from close range after handling a feed from Jack Fauler.
“We’ve had a good power play, but in the first two minutes, we weren’t getting the puck on net,” said Hungerford, a sophomore forward. “It was not really a good power play until the end.”
“We’re pretty confident in our power play. Give us four minutes, and I like our chances,” said Torres. “I started to get a little nervous when it got down to a minute. We got a great pass, and Elliott finished. That was a big power-play goal.
Shenendehowa goalkeeper Ben Farstad made a kick save to deny one Saratoga bid before Hungerford delivered his first goal of the season.
“I was coming down the slot. I was calling for the puck and you couldn’t hear anything because it was so loud, and luckily, Jake saw me,” said Hungerford. “He put it on my tape, and their goalie left the left side open.”
“I’m very pleased with the way my kids battled back in the third period,” said Shenendehowa coach Juan de la Rocha. “Unfortunately, we had that penalty.”
Mortka scored on a close-range backhand 25 seconds into the third period, and Kuhl’s power-play goal on a blast from just inside the blue line 2:58 in nudged Shenendehowa ahead.
“We stressed between periods we needed a couple of quick ones,” said Mortka, a senior forward. “We got the two big goals. We did what we needed to do, and we had a tough penalty. We had a breakdown.
“We’ll split the point and see them again in a month or so,” he added. “We’ll bring everything we’ve got.”
Shenendehowa had ample opportunities in the first period, but Saratoga netminder Dan Hobbs made six saves with his team a man down spanning three power plays. Hobbs made 10 saves in all over the initial 15 minutes, and finished with 20.
“Early on, we had a lot of good looks on the power play,” said de la Rocha. “We talked about it, and the kids were listening. In the first period, we weren’t doing the little things. Later on. we were moving the puck smarter and finding open spaces.”
Marr scored on a five-on-three power play 11:28 into the second period to start Shenendehowa’s comeback, tipping the puck past Hobbs after Peter Russo’s slapper from the circle. J.T. Rafferty and Jack Rittenhouse provided Saratoga with goals earlier in the period.
“We can’t go into the third period with a lead and think we’re going to win. We’ve got to play 45 minutes,” said Hungerford. “We’re up, 2-1, and all of a sudden it’s 3-2. It’s something we’ve got to work on.”
Rafferty tipped in a blast from Devin Coffey 47 seconds into the second period, scoring on a power play, and Rittenhouse beat Farstad in close on a quick, high wrister to give the defending state champs a 2-0 advantage.
Farstad finished with 17 saves. Neither Farstad nor Hobbs was seriously tested in the overtime.
“We’re getting there, but we’re not where we want to be,” said de la Rocha. “We need to start winning games like this to be where we want to be.”
Saratoga is 9-1-1 against Shenendehowa going back to the 2009-10 season. Three of those nine wins came in Section II title games against the Plainsmen, including a 4-0 decision last season. The Blue Streaks also beat the Plainsmen last season by 2-0 and 7-0 counts.
“They’re the state champs, and we wanted to get a win,” said Mortka. “At least we got some goals on them. Next time, we’ll try to do a little more.”
Saratoga Springs 0 2 1 0 — 3
Shenendehowa 0 1 2 0 — 3
First period — No scoring.
Second period — 1, Sara, Rafferty (Coffey, Dagle), :47; 2, Sara, Rittenhouse (Patterson, Liebers), 2:39; 3, Shen, Marr (Russo, Kuhl), 11:28.
Third period — 4, Shen, Mortka (Marr, Russo), :25; 5, Shen, Kuhl (McDonough), 2:58; 6, Sara, Hungerford (Fauler, Rafferty), 13:28.
Overtime — No scoring.
Goalkeepers — Saratoga Springs, Hobbs, 20 saves. Shenendehowa, Farstad, 17 saves.