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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 22, 2009

Guilderland hockey is getting into gear

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– Dutchmen hockey has found its rhythm after consecutive wins over LaSalle and Burnt Hills/Scotia-Glenville. The team is right on schedule.

“This team has followed a similar pattern over the years,” said Head Coach John DeRubertis, Guilderland’s one and only coach since 2001. “We struggle to find ourselves in the beginning of the season, but then we finish strong.”

The Dutchmen beat LaSalle, 3 to 2, on Friday and followed that up with a 4-to-2 win against Burnt Hills on Tuesday night. Goalie Mike Alsante had a combined total of 47 saves in both games.

“Alsante has made the key saves this season. It’s a sign of his growth,” said DeRubertis. “He hasn’t really given up any soft goals. He’s only a sophomore, so he’ll continue to grow.”

Guilderland may struggle out of the gate because its non-league schedule is very tough. “I schedule highly competitive non-league games by design,” DeRubertis said, on Tuesday. “It toughens my team up.”

The Dutchmen are one of 13 Section II hockey teams, joining the league in 2001. “I think we had a .500 record in our first season,” said DeRubertis. “We’ve been .500 or better ever since.”

Two big wins

LaSalle hosted Guilderland in Troy on Friday and Alsante was the hero with 30 saves, stoning several Cadet shots. The Dutch defense helped out the goalie by killing five power plays on the night.

DeRubertis told The Enterprise that penalty killing is one of the team’s strongest attributes. “I don’t know the percentage off the top of my head but I know that it’s been really good,” he said. “The rotation has been smooth and they have been protecting the far post.”

Vince Planz scored the first LaSalle goal, off a breakaway, with less than a second left in the first period. “That was tough to watch from the bench,” said DeRubertis. “My defenders ran into each other and he was all alone.”

The second goal of the game was a Dutchmen tally to tie the score at one. Moments after Conor Hurley was drilled into the glass, he skated down ice and crashed the goal. Hurley’s shot deflected right to Colin Burg’s stick for the goal.

Guilderland took the lead with 5:32 left in the second period after Shayne Tybur found Greg Warnken for the score. LaSalle tied it up with another last-second goal, this time with 22 seconds remaining. The teams went into the third period tied at two.

“We didn’t play that great of a second period, but we capitalized on our only scoring chances,” DeRubertis said. “We talked things over during intermission and came out and scored the goal we needed to win. We kept LaSalle out of the perimeter.”

Burg found Warnken on a power play for the winning goal and Guilderland killed two Cadet power plays during the remaining minutes. The Dutch prevailed, 3-2.

“Burg, Warnken, and Dan Dickinson are three exceptional forwards,” said DeRubertis. “When everything is going right, they’re probably the best line in Section II. Teams try to shut them down but they keep making plays.”

The Dutchmen had goals from Burg, Dickinson,Warnken, and Anthony Liguori in a 4-to-2 home victory over Burnt Hills. Joe Romano and Nate Weinburg had assists and Alsante had 17 saves in net.

“We increased the number of shots in the second period and scored twice,” DeRubertis said. “The system was applied and the third period was once again our best. The penalty kill came up huge, too.”

Guilderland is 5-4 in league play, third place behind Saratoga and Shaker/Colonie. “We’re in the middle of the pack and we play Saratoga and Shaker again,” said DeRubertis. “Catching Saratoga is tough, but second place is obtainable.”

Dutchmen hockey is approaching 100 career wins for which DeRubertis feels a sense of pride. The team is only a few wins away from the milestone.

“It’s a personal thing for me because I started this program,” said DeRubertis. “I’ve seen it all. Reaching 100 wins would be an important mark. The next thing I’d ask for would be a sectional championship.”

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