BREWSTER, N.Y.— It was a grueling task from the opening whistle of Mahopac’s 4-0 home defeat to the powerhouse Suffern Mounties on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at Brewster Ice Arena.
Surrendering a fast break goal within the first minute of play, the Indians’ defense held up to keep the same deficit heading into the second period.
Senior captain Chris Bednar charged a puck that was close to the net before a cluster of defenders forced him to shoot high during a power play. Mahopac managed to take 10 shots on goal during the period.
Suffern’s Kyle Foresta struck with a short distance goal off a pass from Matt Olsen to the middle of the net four minutes into the second.
“We need to improve our positioning in the defensive zone and stop chasing the puck so much,” Mahopac co-coach Mike Woodrow said.
Junior forward John Dignam spun and juked his way to an open slapshot early in the third period, but misfired wide-right.
“John Dignam played two of the best games I have ever seen him play,” Woodrow said. “He was smart in the defensive zone and did a really good job of joining the rush to push the puck back into the offensive zone.”
Foresta notched his second goal on a set-up from David Rozitis with eight minutes remaining in the contest, as Mahopac had no answer for Suffern’s smothering defense.
“Suffern is a strong defensive team,” Woodrow said. “We can make the goalie’s job tougher by setting screens and crashing the net. The coaching staff has stressed dumping the puck and forechecking hard.”
Peter Siolas gave the Indians a fighting chance until the final period, saving 35 shots while the Indians had 21 shots on goal.
Their rematch two days later at Sport-O-Rama in Monsey was more competitive despite another slow start. Mahopac fell 3-1.
Mahopac (7-5-1) allowed two first period goals and dug itself into a 3-0 rut entering a momentum shifting third period.
Junior Mike Truschelli got the Indians on the board with assists from Bednar and Gianfranco Pulice with just 55 seconds to spare.
This time around, Mahopac limited the Mounties to 25 shots on goal while pressuring their defense for most of the final period.
“The scores did not reflect the competitiveness of the games,” Woodrow said. “We really took control from the midpoint on [of the second meeting].”
It was a much more disciplined effort as well, since there were only three penalties between both sides on Friday night. Siolas guarded the fort with 22 saves for an improving Indian defense.
Mahopac will square off with Mount Pleasant at Brewster Ice Arena on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 9:10 p.m. before facing Lakeland/Panas on Sunday at 8 p.m.