NEWBURGH, N.Y.— You just never know in sports. Mahopac appeared certain to steamroll through the Hendrick Hudson/Haldane ice hockey squad after defeating the Sailors 9-2 earlier in the season.
Instead, Mahopac watched its 3-1 third-period edge diminish by allowing three-straight goals, resulting in a 4-4 tie at Ice Time Sports Complex in Newburgh on Feb. 4..
“We were a little too individualistic,” Mahopac co-coach Mike Woodrow said. “A lot of dancing with the puck and skating around people. We need to be stronger on the puck. They scored a lot of their goals on miscues in the defensive zone. They earned a bunch of turnovers in the blue line and that was the difference.”
Trailing 4-3 with just 48 seconds to spare, the Indians emptied the net as junior forward Gianfranco Pulice knocked in the final goal on a short pass from sophomore T.J. McKee to force overtime.
“We felt like we needed to win this game,” McKee said. “It felt great to tie it late. We need to have crisper passes and break the puck out of the zone well and pressure them more.”
It was a back-and-forth overtime period, but neither team was able to convert. The Indians had their chance when McKee flew to the net but shot wide right on the rebound from a teammates attempt.
Senior goalie Peter Siolas preserved the stalemate after catching a bullet of a shot soaring to the middle of the net with 45 seconds remaining in overtime.
Pulice tallied the Indians’ first goal on a dish from McKee again through a cluster of players near the net to make it 1-0 with five minutes left in the first.
Midway through the second period, sophomore forward Nick Bricker netted a short distance goal, assisted by both freshman Ryan Moody and senior Gianna Brigante as Mahopac led 2-0.
“We were more opportunistic than they were,” Woodrow said. “We buried our chances from the high-chance scoring opportunity areas and [Hendrick Hudson/Haldane’s] looks were from the outside rather than in-tight. Later in the game they were getting their looks in the middle and that’s where they made their comeback.”
Following a goal by Hen Hud/Haldane with two minutes remaining in the second period, sophomore forward Brian O’Shea answered back with a score just 30 seconds later.
McKee and senior William Fall assisted the goal that put the Indians ahead, 3-1, entering the third period.
“We were dumping the puck in, going in hard and containing it,” McKee said. “We made their team skate and chase after the puck. That’s how we got offensive chances.”
Hen Hud/Haldane woke up to score with 10 minutes to-go. Running with the momentum, it scored its next goal not even two minutes later. They stuck it through on the deflection of a diving block by Siolas to knot the score at 3-3.
Hen Hud/Haldane anchored the lead-claiming goal off a quick steal and flick deep right in front of Mahopac’s net, driving the crowd wild with six minutes remaining in the third.
The Indians (10-5-2) sent 40 shots on goal compared to Hendrick/Hudson’s 33 while Siolas made 29 saves.
“We are really getting close together as a team,” McKee said. “We still have a lot of practices left to work on the little fixes and that’s how we will be the team that we want to be.”