Saturday, December 19, 2009

'Toga cashes in on LSI mistakes; Wildcats defense romps

La Salle's Nolan Crowley was called for a hold here on Saratoga Springs' Tristan Sperry. The Blue Streaks scored the second power play goal of the game on the ensuing man advantage. (Hockey photos by Jeff Couch - The Record).

Saratoga Springs converted on four of its first six power play opportunities, romping to a 5-2 victory over the Cadets at Conway Ice Arena at Hudson Valley Community College.

La Salle pulled starting goalie Cody Johnson just 6:25 into the game after he had allowed two quick power play goals to the Blue Streaks. He had played great the night before in a 5-3 victory over South Glens Falls, La Salle's first win of the season.

La Salle's Joe Heffernan pins Saratoga Springs' Dan Going to the boards during Saturday's game. The Cadets committed 13 penalties in the 5-2 defeat.

La Salle played pretty well in five-on-five situations, but the penalties led to power plays and the Saratoga goal scorers quickly pounced on those opportunities. La Salle's second goalie, Brett Bernardo, played well, making 24 saves in the second period alone. He did his best to keep La Salle in the game, but too many trips to the sin bin sunk the Cadets Saturday night.

La Salle travels to the Albany County facility behind the airport on Saturday, Dec. 26 to take on CBA.

Check out Sunday's version of The Record or The Saratogian for more on this game.

Maple Hill senior center Sean Danaher is surrounded by a swarm of Cairo-Durham defenders. The Wildcats defended even better, posting a 50-34 victory over the Mustangs. (Basketball photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

Danaher anchored the Wildcats' 2-3 zone and finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. He was the only Maple Hill player to finish in double-digit points.

Maple Hill senior point guard Dominic Prinzo looks to passing room during Saturday's game. Prinzo sparked a 15-0 Maple Hill run to close out the first quarter.

Prinzo has emerged as a starter in the backcourt this season with the graduation of Jaime Schultz and Trent Tibbitts, who led the Wildcats to the New York State Class C championship game a season ago. Prinzo admitted his AAU experience and growing a few inches have helped him feel much more confident this year.

David Briggs, above, and Chris Despart, below, scored eight points apiece for Maple Hill. Big-impact players on the wing a season ago, Briggs and Despart are up to their old tricks again, filling the stat sheets with rebounds, assists and steals while creating opportunities for others.

This Maple Hill team is going to be very fun to watch in 2009-10, just like they were in 2008-09. I don't think they'll wind up scoring as many points - they miss Schultz and Tibbitts in this regard - but they're relying more on defense and sound fundamentals. They allowed just one field goal to Cairo in the third quarter and their aggressive zone defense clinically took apart anything the Mustangs tried to do. In essence, the Wildcats dominated all aspects of the game in what had to be a very satisfying victory for them.

They play two more games before Christmas - making that four games in six days. A big Patroon Conference clash with Rensselaer awaits in early January.

Check out the full story in Sunday's edition of The Record.

Coming next week, plenty of coverage of Tuesday's Big 10 Conference clash for first place between Schenectady and Christian Brothers Academy. We'll also be covering a big Colonial Council girls basketball game on Tuesday night when Watervliet invades Cohoes as both teams look to keep pace with Holy Names, Voorheesville and the Albany Academy for Girls.

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