BLUE STREAK BATTLE
Saratoga ice hockey falls to Mamaroneck, 5-4 in OT to open season
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> The Saratoga Springs ice hockey team was one score, one rush, one save away from making its season opener one for the ages. Instead the Blue Streaks will have to settle for some valuable lessons at the hands of visiting Mamaroneck in a 5-4 overtime loss in the opening round of the Don Kauth Memorial Ice Hockey Tournament at the Saratoga Springs Ice Rink’s Weibel Rink Saturday afternoon.
Saratoga found itself down by two goals on two separate occasions to the Tigers, in the opening period courtesy of 5-on-3 power play goal before Blue Streak defenseman Charlie Leary scored with seven seconds left in the opening stanza from assists by Joe Amodio and Andrew Blanchard.
“We were without our captain tonight, our captain Mack Ogden went down with an injury,” first-year Coach Tim Horst said. “That’s a big loss for us, senior captain, he’s our heart and soul of our team and I think that’s why we maybe we had a slow start tonight.”
Saratotga knotted the con
test in the second, pressuring Tiger’s goalie Madlyn Boyle and saw Will Detora put back a shot by Luke Shapiro from a Devon Wormley set-up.
The Blue Streaks didn’t help their cause forced to attempt to kill a four-minute boarding penalty. Saratoga almost completed the task before Mamaroneck made them play with 1 seconds left in the penalty to go up 3-2. Three minutes later the Tigers reversed the puck from the Blue Streaks end and deposited it into the back of the net for another two-goal lead, 4-2.
“Today’s lesson was just mental discipline, Mamaroneck did a great job on the power play, three goals with a man-advantage,” Horst said. “We weren’t mentally disciplined at the end of the game, that’s something that we can control and we’ll do it a better job of it in the future, but today we didn’t do a good job and it came back to bite us.”
With their backs against the wall in the opener, Horst pulled Saratoga goalie Brad Blake with four minutes left and saw Joe Amodio find the back of the net from assists by Will Detora and RIley Lefebvre, cutting the lead, 4-3.
Coming out of a timeout with two minutes left in regulation Horst went to the well again, pulling Blake for the second time and it was the charm as Griffin Sarver knotted the contest at four goals each from a Amodio and Detora.
“It can backfire pretty quick, if they score an empty net goal and then it’s 5-2, it’s very deflating,” Horst said. “It is energy too and there is no tomorrow, with nobody back there you either win that 50-50 race or they’re scoring a goal on you.
“Sometimes it can create that energy that you need. We needed it today, it happened to work today which was great, it still didn’t come out for a victory for us, but is something the guys are behind and we believe in.”
Neither team was able to find the game-winner in the closing minutes of regulation and had to settle for a five minute overtime session — which wasn’t without its own fireworks.
WIth 1:45 left in overtime several players came to blows and shoves, forcing the referees to break up two scrums and hand out an additional three penalties and a disqualification for a hit from behind. Another Blue Streak tripping penalty 30 seconds later set up Mamaroneck senior captain Jack Delaet’s game-winner with 25 seconds left.
“We like them to play with energy, but it’s controlled chaos,” Horst said. “You have to know your role and you have top play within our system, you can’t fly around out there and try to take people’s heads off. We love that energy, but at the same time you have to be disciplined.”
There were other lessons for the Blue Streaks to sleep on overnight before facing Williamsville North 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
“We have to work away from the puck a lot better, we’re doing a lot of puck watching early on and when you do that you get behind the play and now you have to catch up and hook someone, slash someone,” Horst said. “Along the wall we have to be smarter about how we check people, we had a couple plays along the wall where we got penalties because we’re not smart along the wall and that’s dangerous.”
The opening night loss is far from detrimental for the Blue Streaks, but Horst is looking for improvements.
“It’s early in the season and these are lessons we are learning with this group, they’ve never played together before in a real game situation,” Horst said. “We have a lot of seniors and juniors in the lineup, it’s kind of on them. However far we go they’re going to take us there.
“There is some returning leadership in that room, so I expect them to step up in times like this and kind of lead us.”
Saratoga Springs junior forward Andrew Blanchard faces-off with sticks up against Mamaroneck’s Michael Torre in the closing minutes of overtime Saturday afternoon at the Saratoga Springs Ice Rink in the Blue Streaks season opener.
Saratoga Springs senior defenseman Charlie Leary looks to tip the puck past Mamaroneck goalie Madlyn Boyle in the second period of Saturday’s season opener for the Blue Streaks.
Saratoga Springs senior forward Joe Amodio looks to skate past Mamaroneck’s Charlie Molin in the third period at the Saratoga Springs Ice Rink Saturday afternoon.