After winning the Section II, Division II championship last season, the Burnt Hills/Scotia-Glenville hockey team wasn’t expected to make another run at the title.
But after some close sectional games, most notable a 3-2 double overtime semifinal win against Glens Falls, the Spartans found themselves in the finals against Queensbury again. This time, Queensbury captured its first title with a 5-3 victory Saturday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
To come back and get to the sectional finals after winning it the previous year with a large group of seniors is special. Not too many teams get to win it and then go back, BH/SG coach Walt Peretti said. `The fact that we got back here with a relatively young team is a great accomplishment. They came a long way, and I’m proud of the way they responded and hung tough all year.`
BH/SG (14-9-2 overall, 8-6-2 league) took the lead four minutes into the game when leading scorer Steve Nichols recovered a loose puck while Queensbury goaltender Chris Devlin was caught behind his net. Nichols beat Devlin to the front of the net and tallied the goal.
Queensbury (22-4, 10-3) then rattled off three unanswered goals in under two minutes of the first period. The Spartans tied it with 6:59 left when junior Taylor Vaughn scored, and then they took a 3-1 lead on partial breakaway goals by junior Adam Walkup and sophomore Kevin Corbett 25 seconds apart.
`In the first period, Queensbury did a nice job of chipping the puck out to the neutral zone when we got something going. Then, they used their speedy forwards to create 2-on-1 breaks,` Peretti said.
After a scoreless second period, Queensbury struck again with two seconds remaining on an early third period power play. Senior Evan Lipinski’s blast from center point was redirected by junior Matt Soprano and through the legs of BH/SG sophomore goaltender Roland Marlow to make the score 4-1.
BH/SG made the game interesting by tallying two goals two minutes apart. Ron Beardsley scored with a shot from the blue line off a face-off win, and Nichols picked up his second goal off a Beardsley assist to cut Queensbury’s lead to 4-3 with 8:43 left.
BH/SG nearly got the tying goal in the late stages of the third, but couldn’t finish on several chances. Lipinski then added an empty net goal with 28 seconds left to seal Queensbury’s win.
`We had some great chances on breakaways ` (Bobby) Choquette went in alone, (Chad) Overbaugh and Tommy Barnes ` but we weren’t able to convert those chances,` Peretti said. `Even at 4-1, we were creating chances all over the ice, but we weren’t converting.`
BH/SG will have 19 players returning next season and should make another title run.
`We have a young team, and I was proud that they never sniped on the bench. They remained positive, and they wanted to win,` Peretti said. `They held themselves together well, and I’m really impressed with their maturity and the way they supported each other.“