By ROB JONAS
In what might be the biggest development in the Capital District High School Hockey League this season, the GMSSV Storm edged Shenendehowa 2-1 Wednesday, Jan. 8, at Clifton Park Arena to remain undefeated in the league.
The Storm (4-0-0, 5-3-0) – as they are currently configured (a combination of Guilderland, Mohonasen, Schalmont, Scotia-Glenville and Voorheesville) – had never defeated the Plainsmen (2-4-0, 5-6-0) in Clifton Park. They finally accomplished the feat with a strong defensive effort and a first-period goal to put Shen on its heels the rest of the night.
The victory gave the second-place Storm six points, 1.5 points ahead of third-place Christian Brothers Academy and one point btehind league-leading Bethlehem. It is the team’s best start to a season since the five schools got together several years ago.
As for Shen, the loss ended a four-game winning streak that had propelled it to a .500 record after a slow start to the season. The streak started with victories over Section 3’s Cazenovia and Cortland-Homer and included wins against the Capital District Jets and the Niskayuna/Albany/Schenectady/Amsterdam Mohawks.
In other Wednesday night action, Bethlehem defeated Adirondack 3-1 for its sixth straight victory, and the NASA Mohawks edged LaSalle 3-2 for their first win of the season.
STATE RANKINGS UPDATE
Bethlehem (4-1-0, 10-1-0) and CBA (3-0-1, 6-2-2) remain the two Section 2 representatives in the latest New York State Sportswriters Association Division 1 poll. The Eagles are ranked fifth in the state, while the Brothers are ranked 11th. Queensbury (3-1-0, 5-2-1) sits 10th in the Division 2 rankings.
There are two big CDHSHL games on this weekend’s schedule – Shen hosting Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa (2-1-0, 7-2-0) Friday, and Saratoga Springs (3-2-0, 6-4-0) visiting CBA Saturday at the Albany County Hockey Training Facility in Colonie.
Shen is still searching for a victory over a CDHSHL team with a winning record and would love nothing more than to get it against its neighbors from Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa. To do that, the Plainsmen must find a way to slow down a BH/BS offense that has racked up 31 goals in its last six games, including a seven-goal outburst in a dominating 7-1 victory over LaSalle Jan. 4. Jake Koszelak is leading the charge this season with nine goals and eight assists for BH/BS, while Connor Cecala and Oliver Mathison are tied for the team lead in assists with 10. Owen Grabb has also been a big-time contributor with six goals and seven helpers.
Saratoga Springs figured to be one of the top challengers this season, but a 3-2 loss to Bethlehem Jan. 4 set the Blue Streaks back a bit. A victory over a CBA team that struggled to a 2-2 tie against Albany Academy (0-4-1, 2-5-1) in its last outing on Jan. 4 could be just the spark Saratoga Springs needs to climb closer to the top of the league.
Saratoga’s Joe Amodio enters the weekend second in the scoring leader standings with 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists), one point behind Bethlehem’s Jackson Carroll (13-13-26). Amodio’s teammate, Will Detora (6-15-21), isn’t far off the pace. They’ll face a tough challenge getting the puck past CBA goaltender Josh Coburn, who leads the CDHSHL with a 1.56 goals against average and is second to Bethlehem’s Michael Kurdziolek in save percentage at .944.