PLATTSBURGH — To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.
That’s the approach the No. 4 Beekmantown boys’ hockey team will have when it travels to the Brewster Ice Arena today.
The Eagles (17-4-1) will challenge top-ranked Pelham of Section I in the NYSPHSAA Division II quarterfinals. The puck is scheduled to drop at 3:15 p.m.
“You know, rankings are rankings,” Beekmantown coach Justin Frechette said. “Those are things that people put together on paper. The game’s played on the ice.
“I think we’re going to lean on our experience like we did in the Lake Placid game and understand that this game’s going to be 45 minutes. The key to any championship hockey game is understanding every second of the hockey game matters.”
The Pelicans (19-3-1) reached the state quarterfinals by virtue of a 5-3 win over 10th-seeded Rye in the Section I championship Sunday. Coach Ed Witz’s team owns a well-balanced attack with four players in double-digit scoring.
Scoring all of 125 goals this season, Pelham is led by Andrew Schauer (24-31-55), Will Cullen (27-27-54), Hogan Peters (18-21-39) and Ben Hurd (15-17-32). Cullen was named the section’s Division II Player of the Year.
Brandon Buksa, a senior forward for the Eagles, is excited for the opportunity to matchup against the Pelicans’ offensive prowess.
“We’ve got to track pucks, make sure we can do as much as we can to block shots and really not bite on too many things,” Buksa said. “We’ve just got to go and play our game and play good D-zone.”
Frechette said his group always talks a lot about team defense. His squad is surrendering just 1.81 goals-per game through 22 outings.
“We pride ourselves on playing a good team defensive game,” Frechette said. “That’s going to include backchecking, that’s going to include blocking shots. Everything we have to do to sacrifice to keep pucks out of our net our kids are willing to do. This time of year, you’ve got to be willing to do the extra because it’s a one-game series. We understand that.”