Eight goals was more than enough for Saratoga to cruise to a win.
The Saratoga Blue Streaks varsity hockey defeated the Tri-Falls Rivermen (comprised of Glens Falls, Hudson Falls, and South Glens Falls) in the Section 2 final on Thursday night at Union College’s Messa Rink by a score of 8-1, in a dominant performance.
Saratoga scored early on a Jake Fauler shot just five minutes into the game, and never looked back, putting themselves on cruise control the entire contest. They never went more than eleven minutes without scoring.
“They tried to expose our defense, and the defense has been playing fantastic, not only the guys on the back line but even our team defense,” Saratoga head coach Dave Torres said.
Nine minutes after the first goal, Colin Paton scored on a breakaway with forty seconds left in the first period, making it 2-0 and putting momentum on the Saratoga side.
“That’s huge. It just deflated their team,” Torres added.
Another key momentum shifter occurred midway through the second period, where Saratoga picked up two penalties in fourteen seconds, making it five-on-three for over a minute. The puck stayed in the Saratoga zone the whole time, and Saratoga goaltender Tom Fornabia stopped five Rivermen shots in that 1:17 sequence, giving Saratoga nearly all the momentum needed to win the game.
“I just had to keep battling, keep the puck out of the net, it’s just that simple,” Fornabia said.
The Saratoga offense attacked just after this, scoring three goals in four minutes to make it 5-0 after the second period, all but putting the game away for the final 15 minutes.
Saratoga continued to score in the third, with a goal from Paton again for his second of the night less than two minutes in, then Caleb Smith tacked on another just five minutes later, this one being on the power play. Tri-Falls had six penalties in the third period, including an ejection of Andrew Bulmer with 1:18 to play.
“Frustrations set in, we talked about that, being character people, and it got away from a couple of our kids,” Tri-Falls head coach Mark DiFiore said.
Tri-Falls did get on the board with less than three minutes to play on a goal from Jared Thomas, which made it 7-1.
The Saratoga defense once again made it a quiet night for Fornabia, who faced only 17 shots, just above his season average of 14.
This loss ends the Tri-Falls season, while Saratoga has won their second straight Section 2 title, and their sixth in the past seven years. They advance to play Monroe-Woodbury in the state quarterfinals (regionals). That game will be played on Saturday, March 5th, at the Weibel Avenue Ice Rink at 3 p.m.
Jake Fauler: 2 goals, 1 assist
Caleb Smith: 1 goal, 2 assists
Colin Paton: 2 goals
Josh Dagle: 1 goal, 1 assist
Jonathan Luse: 1 goal
Ryan Robens: 1 goal
Elliott Hungerford: 1 assist
Garret Smith: 1 assist
Brendan Coffey: 1 assist
Jared Thomas: 1 goal