After losing their last two meetings with Saratoga by 5 goals and 6 goals, respectively, Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa wanted to prove to people that the Blue Streaks don’t just have a walk in the park to the Section 2 championship this year. And, even though they weren’t able to dethrone the powerful Saratoga team, they played them closer than anyone has all year.
The Spartans wanted to jump on the Streaks early, as they have been notoriously slow starters. Not on Friday night they weren’t. They got the first 17 shots on goal and took a 2-0 lead into the 1st intermission, after Josh Dagle and Brendan Coffey put pucks home.
But BHBS responded big time in the 2nd. They played a much better game in the middle frame, and struck gold when Tino Benamati played home a loose puck, and then Geordan Buffoline sniped one past Blue Streaks goalie Tom Fornabia just 20 seconds later to tie the game at 2-2. That would be the score heading into the 3rd period. It was the latest point in a game all season that Saratoga had been tied with a team in Section 2 (Not counting 0-0).
The Spartans had another solid period in the third, but Saratoga proved too much, and Josh Dagle sniped a goal just 2 minutes into the third stanza to give Saratoga a 3-2 lead. Sam Swingruber hit the post on a hard wrister with about 6 minutes remaining and his team still down a goal, and Caleb Smith picked up some loose change on the doorstep about a minute later to make it 4-2 Blue Streaks. That would hold to be the final score.
Even though the outcome wasn’t exactly what they wanted, BHBS played very well, and they showed people that this team is one of the teams to beat in Section 2. They finish 16-5-1 this season, and have now gone 33-10-2 in the last two seasons. In perspective, every other team except Bethlehem and Saratoga has more than 10 losses just this season. It was a tough way to go for senior goalie Mark Stocker, who played an unbelievable game, stopping 38 shots and making some incredible saves, but still losing nonetheless. He will be continuing his hockey career in juniors in Canada next year. For Saratoga, they advance to the Section 2 championship game again, and improve to 17-4-1. They should move up a few spots in the state rankings after being ranked 10 this week, and defeating the 12th-ranked team.
5:24 (Toga)- Josh Dagle (22) ASST: NONE
4:14 (Toga)- Brendan Coffey (6) ASST: Josh Dagle (21), Jon Luse (14)
4:27 (BHBS)- Tino Benamati (23) ASST: Sam Swingruber (16)
4:07 (BHBS)- Geordan Buffoline (25) ASST: Alec Lind (22), Tino Benamati (24)
13:01 (Toga)- Josh Dagle (23) ASST: NONE
4:27 (Toga)- Caleb Smith (5) ASST: Brendan Coffey (13), Colin Paton (8)