BREWSTER, N.Y.— An already successful campaign for Mahopac’s varsity ice hockey team ended the regular season with three convincing wins heading into sectionals.
The Indians scored three goals in about three minutes during the first period to soar past Rye Town/Harrison, 4-1, on senior night on Saturday, Feb. 11, at Brewster Ice Arena.
“When the team plays team hockey, they play a good game,” Mahopac co-coach Mike Woodrow said. “We took advantage of our chances and really made it miserable for the other team in our zone. We didn’t give up odd-man rushes and when we did, we have a solid goalie (Peter Siolas) in the net. That was the recipe for victory tonight.”
Sophomore forward T.J. McKee ignited the barrage with a crash to the net and pass to John Dignam for the first goal midway into the first period.
Mike Truschelli and Brian O’Shea doubled the lead less than 30 seconds later. McKee dished to Truschelli, who then dumped off to a flying O’Shea for the score.
“It was each one of them on an odd-man rush,” Woodrow said. “Through the zone pressure we were able to work the puck low to high, drop-pass and find the trailer for that good open look. Everyone had a nice little cycle to the net.”
Junior forward Gianfranco Pulice broke the trend by hooking in a goal unassisted from behind the net to stretch the Indians’ lead to 3-0 with six minutes left in the first period.
“We were really working on getting the puck deep in practice,” Pulice said. “We feel extra energized to be able to play the playoff game at home and we worked hard at practice on our chemistry to go on this streak.”
Despite letting up a goal in the second period, Mahopac continued to control possession and wear the Titans’ defense down.
Senior captain Chris Bednar iced the cake on assists from both Truschelli and Pulice halfway through the third period.
“Mikey (Truschelli) took the [defender] wide, picked up the trailer and dropped it to [Bednar],” Woodrow said.
The victory handed Mahopac a share of the League B title with North Rockland. It was its second consecutive League B title and the first time that the Indians have gone back-to-back since 2003.
“It’s definitely something to be proud of,” Woodrow said. “The whole effort today was really strong.”
Honored before the game’s start were seniors J.P. McKenzie, Gianna Brigante, William Fall, Peter Siolas, captain Daniel Borgelt, Bednar and captain Joseph Geary.
“It was a great game,” Siolas said. “From the ceremony to the fact that we won the league title at the end of the day. I just knew that I had to be a rock back there for the team and be consistent.”
Siolas, who finished with 19 saves and split time at goalie last season, is excited to ride the wave one more time.
“It’s all good things happening right now,” Siolas said. “The team is really coming together as the season closes just in time for playoffs. Since the Hen Hud game (tie), it really lit a fire under us to go full steam if we want to place high before the season ends.”
Turning into such a juggernaut entering playoffs, the Indians squashed visiting Bethel/Brookfield/Danbury by the tune of 8-0 just a day earlier at the BIA.
Dignam tallied two goals along with three assists. Pulice racked up two goals and two assists in the team effort.
In a closer affair at Pawling last Tuesday, Mahopac squeezed out a 7-5 victory to get the ball rolling on its win streak.
O’Shea penciled a hat trick and two assists. Borgelt knocked through two goals while Charlie Giacomo got the starting nod in goal.
The Indians, who fell in the quarterfinals of the Division 1 sectionals last season to Scarsdale, will not take this opportunity for granted.
“We just need to appreciate each game,” Pulice said. “Take it step by step to win every period and every shift.”
Playoffs will ice off on Feb. 19 as an opponent for Mahopac (13-5-2) is yet to be determined.
“We’ve got a team that can really make some noise in sectionals,” Woodrow said.