BREWSTER, N.Y. — It was a successful week for Somers/North Salem’s hockey (5-2-1) team, who collected wins against rivals Carmel and Pearl River, and dropped one game against White Plains outdoors.
On Dec. 19 the Sabers hit the road for Sport-O-Rama to take on Pearl River, who knocked them out of the playoffs last season in the opening round of the Division 2 sectionals.
Somers/North Salem found its revenge, pulling out a 3-1 road victory.
After a scoreless first, senior captain R.J. LaSpina put the Sabers on the board assisted by Nick Caleri with 14:11 to go, and with 2:27 left Carley Bauckham scored from Brandon LaSpina and Jon Henning to put the Sabers up 2-0 after two.
The Pirates scored in the third to get within one, but it was Somers/ North Salem’s top line again that led the team. R.J. netted his second goal of the game, unassisted, to power the Sabers past their Section 1 foe.
“I thought about it going down (the playoff loss last season),” said senior goaltender Tim Henning, who recorded 22 saves. “It was nice to pull out the win.”
On Sunday, Dec. 20, back at Brewster Ice Arena, the Sabers hosted the Carmel Rams and pulled out a 7-5 win in a high-scoring affair.
Jon Henning, a sophomore defenseman, started the scoring just minutes in when Michael Garrity threw him a puck from the bottom of the left circle. Henning skated from the middle of the left circle, towards net and was able to hammer it home. Less than four minutes later with 9:29 left in the first, Garrity scored one of his own, unassisted.
But, the Rams were not about to give up. In the final four minutes of play Carmel netted two to even the score, on two Somers/ North Salem defensive breakdowns. To start the second the Sabers’ top line was firing on all cylinders and netted three goals in the first five minutes of play. R.J. scored the first, unassisted, and Brandon added another less than a minute later from Cross Santaniello. With 10:43 remaining it was R.J. again from his brother.
“It’s honestly the greatest thing,” said R.J. on playing with his younger brother. “We aren’t playing knee hockey downstairs, we aren’t playing out on the pond, we’re actually playing on the same team. I can’t even explain it; we just have a connection without even talking so it’s incredible.”
Up 5-2 the Sabers weren’t clear yet though. A Ram goal with 6:41 to go in the second put them within two and a major penalty, with 1:51 left in the second, sent Brandon to the box for a four-minute unreleasable penalty which the Rams took advantage of.
Two power-play goals knotted the score at five to start the third, but the Sabers were not going down easily. In the third period it was all Sabers and two goals from Garrity and Brandon LaSpina helped the Sabers move past the Rams with a victory.
“We’ve got a young group of guys and it’s all about communication,” R.J. said. “It’s been a problem this year and we’re really looking to fix it.”
On Dec. 17 the Sabers were on the road and traveled to White Plains’ Ebersole Ice Arena for an outdoor game. Fog filled the air in the Sabers’ 6-2 loss against the Tigers in a match that they never had the lead in.
The first few minutes of the game went scoreless but White Plains broke it open with 12:17 to go in the first. Brandon LaSpina scored with 4:38 left in the first to knot it at one and was assisted by Bauckham but just over a minute later the Tigers scored again. Up 2-1, White Plains added three more after a scoreless second period, and with 4:33 left Bauckham scored a goal of her own, but again the Tigers responded seconds later to put the game out of reach at 6-2 with just over four minutes to go.
It was not easy to see for either team on a foggy Ebersole rink.
“It’s really hard when you can’t see the other goalie,” said Henning, who posted 16 saves in the loss. “But we just have to work through it and when the odds are against you, you just have to keep going.”
The Sabers are back in action Monday, Dec. 28, against Rye Town/Harrison at Playland.
“I think we need to be stronger on defense,” R.J. said. “We need to keep the spirits high. We’ve got a lot of young guns and it should work for the best.”