“We were looking to make school history with a fourth-consecutive regional win and we did it,” said second-year head coach Dave Torres. “The boys were ready for this game all week and prepared for the task at hand. In no way did we come in thinking we were the underdog. We prepared them for the hostile environment we were going into and they came out on top.”
Saratoga Springs drew the top seed overall in the state tournament, traveling downstate to Monsey, New York to face the defending state champion Suffern Mounties. The game was tied 2-2 with a little over half of the third period remaining, when 2013 Section II co-Player of the Year, Tyler Bullard, broke through with a backhand goal to give the Blue Streaks the lead for good.
The Blue Streaks move on to face the Section VI representative, the Niagara-Wheatfield Falcons, in the state semifinals. Niagara-Wheatfield finished third in their division this season, with an 8-4-1 record in Section VI play. They defeated Section IV champions Ithaca March 3 to reach the semifinals against the Blue Streaks.
The question remains: how does this team differ from years past?
“This year our team possesses a more balanced offense, with three lines that can contribute,” said Torres. “Secondary scoring has been a key for the team all year. Having 17 players returning from last year has helped as well.”
Torres is quick to praise his players for their skills on the ice, as well as their character off of it.
“The Flynn twins (Matt and Ryan) have provided the team with major scoring weapons, as well as being great additions in the locker room with their winning attitude,” said Torres. “Defensively, Brendon Wormley provides leadership on and off the ice and is probably the best defenseman in New York State.”
“Kids like Drew Hasbrouck, Nick Conchieri, Ian Frey and Matt Klingbeil have provided a solid back line for us,” continued Torres. “Then there’s the goaltending tandem of Dakota Smith and Spencer Glaim, the two best goalies in Section II.”
The team has had a few bumps in the road this season, including losses to Section V’s Pittsford and an early February loss to the Suffern Mounties. Still, the team remains focused on the next game, trying not to let what they can’t control take away from their concentration.
“We don't talk about the future,” said Torres. “We stay focused on the present, today, the moment. Shift-by-shift, every game.”
The Blue Streaks were the heavy favorite to win the Section II championship, which they have also won four consecutive years. They did it in impressive fashion, too. Saratoga Springs defeated archrival Shenendehowa at the Achilles Rink on Union College campus, shutting the Plainsmen out 4-0. In fact, in their three matchups against Saratoga Springs this season, Shenendehowa was outscored 13-0.
Saratoga Springs finished the regular season on top of the Division I standings with 20 points and a 13-1 record in Section II and a 20-3-1 record overall. Their lone loss in Section II play came earlier this season in an away matchup with Shaker/Colonie.
Despite all their success this season, Coach Torres says they haven’t lost sight of their ultimate goal: the elusive New York State title.
“This team will not be satisfied with anything less than a state championship.”