BLUE STREAKS READY FOR DON KAUTH TOUR­NEY

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - By Stan Hudy [email protected]­gian.com @StanHudy on Twit­ter

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> This week­end is more than a home opener for the Saratoga Springs Ice hockey team. It’s a chance to con­tinue to im­prove, a chance to con­tinue to win and a re­minder that the game they love brings peo­ple to­gether for more than a score on the board after 51 min­utes.

Shenen­de­howa will open Fri­day night by host­ing Mamaroneck at the Cap­i­tal Arena at 8 p.m. in the first of­fi­cial con­test of the Don Kauth Tour­na­ment with the Blue Streaks host the same Sec­tion 1 squad at 12:30 p.m. Satur­day. The Plains­men fol­low by fac­ing Sec­tion VI pow­er­house Wil­liamsville North at 2:45 p.m. and Saratoga re­turns to the Weibel Av­enue Rink 2 p.m. Sun­day to face Wil­liamsville North.

“Each year we start out with the non-league games, just like Shenen­de­howa, they’re our travel part­ner and we want to see the best com­pe­ti­tion in the state,” Saratoga Springs Coach Dave Tor­res said. “We can go play teams that are not as good as us and win by four, five, six goals, but what is that teach­ing these guys? Not much.

“I’d rather play a qual­ity op­po­nent, maybe come out on the los­ing end, but learn a lot more from our team and make these guys work harder. We were for­tu­nate enough to come out on top both those games and they’ve got a lit­tle bit of a chip on their shoul­der right now

and that’s a good thing.”

The Blue Streaks ral­lied past Sec­tion I’s John Jay last Fri­day and han­dled an­other Sec­tion I squad, North Rock­land, 5-1 on Satur­day be­fore re­turn­ing for this week­end’s me­mo­rial tour­na­ment.

“I liked their tenac­ity, the to­geth­er­ness, com­mit­ment, all the things we want to see at the end of the sea­son we’re al­ready see­ing early on,” Tor­res said. “That game we to­tally out­played John Jay, out­shot them 9-3 in the first pe­riod and were down 2-1.

“In the past maybe a young team would have hung their heads. These guys did not hang their heads, they kept fight­ing back and we knew we had a chance. Those three words ex­plain what it’s all about.”

Tor­res wants to see more of the same in week two against both out of town teams on the Blue Streak’s home ice.

“I want to see a re­peat of what we did last week — at­ti­tude-wise, not on the ice of course, be­cause we started out slow,” Tor­res said. “I want to see a bet­ter first pe­riod, a bet­ter start to the game be­cause Mamaroneck is cer­tainly go­ing to come ready to fire and they al­ways do.

“We need to show peo­ple that we’re the bet­ter team right from the get-go and not wait un­til the sec­ond or third pe­riod.”

Saratoga cap­tains, ju­nior Mack Og­den and se­nior Quinn Lef­fler, are anx­ious to see if their squad can ex­tend the early sea­son start past the im­pres­sive 2-0 mark.

“It’s our first start like that in a re­ally long time, we just want to carry it over this week­end, keep it rolling,” Mack Og­den said. “We knew we could win both the games, we just had to show up and ev­ery­body was pre­pared for both and it worked out.”

De­spite the un­blem­ished record, Lef­fler hopes that the Blue Streaks can not only stay hot, but start off quickly in front of their home­town crowd.

“For the past cou­ple year’s we’ve been hav­ing a hard time get­ting started right off the bat,” Quinn Lef­fler said. “That’s some­thing we need to work on, ready to play, be­ing fo­cused as soon as the puck drops.

“Our hockey-sense all around, every­one has to be in their zone and ready to play. You have to know where you are sup­posed to be.”

The event is not only played to honor Saratoga Springs res­i­dent Don Kauth who was trag­i­cally killed in the World Trade Cen­ter on Sept. 11 where he worked as a fi­nan­cial an­a­lyst, but for a man who meant much to the lo­cal hockey com­mu­nity.

“Don was a good friend of mine, I’m good friends with the fam­ily,” Tor­res said. “I worked with (his wife) Anne for a num­ber of years at the high school, I know all of her chil­dren, it’s es­pe­cially close to me.

“I’ll talk about my sen­ti­ments and what Don meant to this com­mu­nity and the hockey com­mu­nity. It’s spe­cial.”

This will be the third Kauth tour­na­ment for Og­den, fourth for Lef­fler, re­spec­tively.

“This week­end is about what Don Kauth meant to the com­mu­nity and how we need to play for him,” Lef­fler said. “One big thing we like to take away from this tour­na­ment is that we put up a good set-up for all the teams that come in. I think we show a lot of class and every­one en­joys it.”

STAN HUDY [email protected]­I­TAL­FIRST­MEDIA.COM @STANHUDY ON TWIT­TER

The Blue Straks will again look to stop two down­state pow­ers from putting the puck in the net dur­ing this week­end’s Don Kauth Me­mo­rial Tour­na­ment Satur­day and Sun­day at the Saratoga Springs Ice Rink.

STAN HUDY [email protected]­I­TAL­FIRST­MEDIA.COM @STANHUDY ON TWIT­TER

Saratoga Springs ice hockey coach Dave Tor­res talks with one of his goalies at prac­tice. He knew Don Kauth per­son­ally and will ad­dress the team about the im­por­tance of this week­end’s an­nual me­mo­rial tour­na­ment.

STAN HUDY [email protected]­I­TAL­FIRST­MEDIA.COM @STANHUDY ON TWIT­TER

A mem­ber of the Saratoga Springs ice hockey ‘Pink’ line skates the puck up the ice dur­ing prac­tice at the Saratoga Springs Ice Rink.

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