LaSalle Institute of Troy is marking its 165th anniversary this season, but in terms of athletic achievement, it has not been the best of seasons. If it was a season for the ages, it'd be closer to the dark ages.
LaSalle's varsity football team reached .500 last fall, and got as far as the Class AA semi-finals. The winter sports, however, have fared worse. The varsity hockey & basketball teams have a combined 12 wins between them. Normally, the basketball team would have 12 wins by themselves in the season's final days, but not this year. It's not the fault of coach Steve Sgambelluri, the former College of Saint Rose star. The team, from what I saw three weekends ago vs. Troy, wasn't able to put together four solid quarters in a row, though it seems they finally did vs. Lansingburgh on Friday. It's not a good sign, considering LaSalle will be joining 'Burgh in the Colonial Council next season.
On the ice, the Cadets had gone 5 games without a win (0-4-1) headed into Saturday's match vs. Saratoga. The Blue Streaks are among the elite programs in Section II, period, and they were coming off a big win over their main rival, Shenendehowa, three nights earlier. Nothing says trap game like going on the road against a sub-.500 club when you're looking to solidify playoff position. The Cadets had played better in a 1-1 draw vs. Queensbury, and with the playoffs looming, they had to make a run just to get close to .500.
LaSalle drew first blood late in the 1st period, as Logan DiScanio "put the biscuit in the basket", as ESPN's Keith Olbermann would put it. However, Saratoga evened it up in the 2nd, then took the lead early in the 3rd. Back came the Cadets, who tied it at 2 late in the 3rd to force overtime. Halfway through the extra session, with LaSalle on a power play, DiScanio was taken down by Saratoga's Ian Frey. At first, Frey was going to the penalty box, but after a discussion among the officials, DiScanio was awarded a penalty shot, and Frey felt like a----wait for it----French Frey, as DiScanio scored his 2nd goal of the game to win it for the Cadets.
The attitude of at least one Saratoga player changed after the post-game handshake. As he went down the tunnel, the player dropped a couple of f-bombs out of frustration, right in front of parents and smaller children who were getting ready to leave. Not good. I do have some sympathy for LaSalle coach Tim Flanigan, though. Tim & I were classmates at Troy High back in the day, and while Troy's hockey team wasn't among the elite, not winning a league title, they didn't have this kind of record.
What may be even sadder is the glaring lack of press coverage. After a 5-2 loss to Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa 2 weeks ago, The Record's coverage was so half-hearted, they gave the victors almost no credit at all. There were no television cameras at the game, and that's not helping. Seems as though high school hockey, despite the popularity of 2 local colleges and an AHL team in the tri-cities, is treated like a red-headed stepchild these days, as local press would rather devote more space to high school & college basketball, as well as the aforementioned college & pro hockey teams. As has been noted before, while the local papers are bent on directing consumer traffic to their websites, regardless of how many readers have internet access, high school hockey coverage has been reduced to next to nothing.
Then again, some high schools are getting the Rodney Dangerfield treatment on the court, too. Sometimes, a box score just isn't enough there. But, that's for another time.