Blue Streaks slip past Johnstown, 3-1

JOHNSTOWN – After playing four straight overtime games, the Johnstown field hockey team dropped a 3-1 decision in regulation to Saratoga Springs on Monday at Knox Field.

The Blue Streaks turned in a solid effort despite mourning the loss of Anthony Bellai, a longtime coach and physical education teacher in the district.

“It was a hard day,” Saratoga Springs coach Jo-Ann Hostig said. “We’re lucky the kids were able to play as well as they did. It was rough.”

Saratoga Springs struck first when Erin McCarty scored on an assist from Mimi Liebers with 18:22 remaining in the first half.

Just 30 seconds later, the Blue Streaks pushed their lead to 2-0, getting a goal from Lyndsey Frank on an assist from Liebers.

Johnstown responded with a goal of its own 26 seconds later, making it 2-1.

Chelsea Rodecker scored on an assist from Emily Fleming for the Lady Bills with 17:26 left in the first half.

“I thought we played our best hockey the last 20 minutes of the first half,” Johnstown coach Christine Krempa said. “They scored the first two goals on us, but we battled back and picked up our play.”

The Lady Bills kept their deficit at one goal, heading into the half down 2-1.

After the break, Saratoga Springs turned up the pressure, piling up 22 shots and limiting Johnstown to just two second-half shots.

“We were completely flat in the second half and lacked intensity,” Krempa said.

Despite the barrage of shots, Emma Gottung and the Johnstown defense allowed just one second-half goal.

“Johnstown is a good team,” Hostig said. “They played solid defense and made us work for it.”

Liebers scored the lone second-half goal for the Blue Streaks, putting home a rebound on a shot by Frank to make it 3-1 with 18:30 to play.

Saratoga Springs finished with a 35-9 advantage in shots and a 6-5 edge in penalty corners.

Liz McIntyre made five saves to post the shutout win in goal for the Blue Streaks.

Gottung finished 17 saves for Johnstown.

“We scheduled a Class A team because we want to be challenged,” Krempa said. “I’d rather play good teams now and reap the rewards later.”

Saratoga Springs (6-1 overall) is scheduled to host Guilderland on Wednesday.

Johnstown (3-4 overall) is slated to host Gloversville today at 7 p.m. at Knox Field.

“We’re looking forward to the Gloversville game,” Krempa said. “We’ll be fired up and ready to play. That game will be the first of a stretch of three games that we should win, need to win and have to win.”

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