The Mamaroneck Varsity Ice Hockey team was riding a 28-game unbeaten streak, spanning more than a calendar year, leading up to Monday’s tilt with Pelham (16-1), the state’s number one ranked team in Division II.
For the Tigers, it was a chance at revenge, as it was the teams’ first meeting since last season’s 6-1 shellacking by the Pelicans. That game, at the time, appeared to some as an indication that Mamaroneck was not a state championship-caliber team; however, it proved to just be a wake up call to members of the team, as the Tigers went on to win every game the rest of the season, en route to the school’s first-ever Ice Hockey state championship. This year, the team was unbeaten in its first 18 games (17-0-1).
The game, a matchup of the top ranked teams in Division I and Division II, could not be hyped up any more. When the puck finally dropped, both fan bases were raring to go, and the action did not disappoint.
Quickly, the Tigers were at a disadvantage, as the team got whistled for a four-minute major penalty early in the first period. Shortly after, while still down a man, Mamaroneck got called for another penalty… and then another. The team was set to have to play at a 5-on-3 disadvantage for over two minutes. Somehow, the team escaped the first period unscathed, despite amassing seven minutes in penalty time. Tommy Spero ’17 played a large part in keeping the Pelicans off the board in the opening frame, making 14 saves.
The start to the second period was not a memorable one for Mamaroneck. Within the first five minutes, Pelham scored twice to turn the game on its head. Suddenly, the Tigers were in desperate need of a momentum swing. Thankfully, they got one less than a minute after Pelham’s second goal. Four seconds into a power play, Harrison Schreiber ‘19 sniped a shot from the slot, which hit the underside of the crossbar and went in. The team had life. Shortly over five minutes later, with 4:01 left in the second period, Schreiber struck again to tie the game at two. Michael Carducci ’18 made a great play to set up Schreiber in front of the net. After 30 minutes of relentless, end-to-end action, the game headed to the third period tied at two.
The score remained even for much of the third period; the Tigers, as they were forced to do much of the night, killed off a slew of penalties. With 3:16 left in the final period, Tommy Spero stoned a Pelham breakaway, but the Tigers’ defenseman in pursuit of the Pelicans’ skater was whistled for a penalty. The play appeared to be unsuspecting; nonetheless, Mamaroneck was heading back to the box. With 2:14 left, Pelham scored to break the tie, seemingly deflating the Ice Hutch. With time winding down, the Pelicans added an empty-net goal to go up 4-2, putting the nail in the Tigers’ coffin.
Takeaways: Mamaroneck, despite spending over 17 minutes in the penalty box, proved they can play with the best in the state. The Tigers also showed that they have character, as they were able to come back from a 2-goal deficit in a hostile environment. Furthermore, they demonstrated that questionable calls in the biggest games don’t faze them. For a team with state championship aspirations, these are all positive signs.
Next Up: Final game of the regular season vs. North Rockland on Friday, February 10, at home at 5:30pm. The Tigers will lock up the number one seed in Division I with a win.