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Section II Division I hockey playoff picture

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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Section II Division I hockey playoff picture

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Section II Division I hockey playoff picture

Playoff fever heats up on the ice

SARATOGA SPRINGS – All the games have been played, well almost all the games, but the Section II ice hockey playoffs are set, well sort of. Despite some late confusion, the games will go on, some teams will continue and others will see their players start making plans for lacrosse practice.

The Section II Division I ice hockey playoffs get underway tonight when No. 7 Saratoga takes on No. 2 Guilderland 7:50 p.m. at Union College and the Blue Streaks have reached the tipping point of their season.

Saratoga (5-12-1 CDHSHL, 6-15-3 overall) fell to Guilderland (12-3, 13-9-1) twice during the regular season, 4-1 and 3-2 respectively in January.
Things could be different tonight.

“Neither game we played them earlier would I think give them the confidence that they steamrolled us,” Saratoga coach Tim McGuiggan said. “Both were competitive, close games that our guys have a confidence that they can play with this team and have improved over the year.”

If there is any team that could help the Blue Streaks is No. 3 LaSalle.
“It’s natural for any team to look past a lower seed,” McGuiggan said. “Whomever comes out faces LaSalle who I think is the hottest team in the league.”

Saratoga will have to embrace the role of the underdog tonight and look to deliver on hopes of peaking at the right time and upsetting the brackets.

“It’s interesting when you have the number of young kids we have and the number doing this for the first time,” McGuiggan said. “You won’t know they react to it until the National Anthem and see whose eyes are wide and whose aren’t.”

Meanwhile No. 1 Shenendehowa has a bye through to Friday’s semifinals at the Clifton Park Arena and will face the winner of No. 5 CBA (5-8-3, 6-12-6) versus No. 4 Niskayuna/Schenectady (8-5-1, 16-7-1).

“Each team brings something different to the table,” Plainsmen coach Juan de la Rocha said. “CBA’s goaltending has improved a lot, offensively it seems like they can’t finish. Niskayuna has the offense, but doesn’t seem to be doing anything with it.
“We’re ready for either one,” de la Rocha said. “They’re both evenly matched, both bring something different to the table. We’re prepared for either one.”

CBA’s coach, Ron Kuhl is also hoping to break the Division I bracket, getting another shot at Shenendehowa in the playoffs.

“We started a few years ago as a six seed and made our way to the finals,” Ron Kuhl said. “I’ts anybody’s game at this point. Shen is always a difficult match up, that is, if make it past Niskayuna. We’ve played them tight twice, and hopefully learn from our mistakes.”

The Mohawks won in overtime Dec. 8, 1-0 with 30 seconds left in the contest and skated to a 1-1 tie Jan. 18.

“Playing in their rink is a chore,” Kuhl said. “Their fans are very into the game and raring to go. We have to maintain our focus and we have to score some goals.
“It’s not like we can’t get shots on net, we just have to finish,” Kuhl said. “All of our young guys have to realize you might only get one chance and you have to make the most of it.”

In the Division II playoffs, No. 1 Queensbury (9-2-1, 19-2-2) has a bye while No. 4 Burnt Hills/Scotia-Glenville (3-8-2, 7-12-2) takes on No. 5 Mohonasen/Schalmont 2-12, 1-20 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Union College.

In the opposite side of the bracket, Bethlehem and Glens Falls face each other tonight to determine the No. 2 and No. 3 seeding. The duo will face each other again in the semifinal later this week.

South Glens Falls declined to participate in this year’s Section II Division II tournament.

View Division I bracket>

View Division II bracket

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