Sports

Team Effort Lifts Somers/North Salem Hockey to Win over Lakeland/Panas

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Somers/North Salem's Michael Garrity, left, congratulates Brandon LaSpina after a goal against Lakeland/Panas. Credits: Jim MacLean
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Nick Caleri clears for the Sabers. Credits: Jim MacLean
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Saber R.J. LaSpina knocks the puck out of the air as he is checked from behind by Matt Sillcocks of Lakeland/Panas. Credits: Jim MacLean
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For an ice hockey coach it doesn’t get much better than the final box score for the Somers/North Salem Sabers' win over Lakeland/Panas.

Just ask the Sabers’ coach John Veteri after his team wrapped up a 6-2 victory over the Rebels on Dec. 6. Two things stood out for Veteri; there were six different goal scorers for the Sabers and zero penalties.

“Every game is important, especially a league game, and we took control of the game early and took care of business,” Veteri said. “Defensively, all around our defense was solid. We had six different goal scorers, spreading the wealth. We’re not relying on one or two guys to score and that’s a good sign. Our goal was no penalties, and it’s clear, no penalties all the way and that is a very good thing. A good job all around; things are starting to come together.”

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It was a strong start for the Sabers (2-1-1) as Carley Bauckham scored the first varsity goal of her career for a quick 1-0 lead. Bauckham was able to bury a shot from the side of the net off an assist from R.J. LaSpina just a couple of minutes into the game.

“Carley has been doing a great job on our first line,” Veteri said. “She’s had a lot of opportunities these first four games. I kept telling her it was going to come at some point and it came today.”

With 1:13 left in the first period, LaSpina made it 2-0 as he scored off an assist from Nick Caleri.

The Sabers kept the pressure on in the second period, and Michael Dutt made it 3-0 as he took a pass from Caleri, beat a defender and buried a wrist shot for the goal.

It was the LaSpina brother connection working together for the fourth goal of the game as R.J. lifted a perfect pass to his brother Brandon LaSpina all alone at center ice for a breakaway and Brandon was able to bury the shot for a 4-0 lead at the end of two periods.

“Being out there with my brother is kind of like a backdoor connection; we know each other inside and out,” R.J. LaSpina said. “I barely even knew he was there for the breakaway. I just heard him call for it and sent it.”

Michael Garrity opened the third period scoring with an unassisted goal, and Will Wiegelman scored his first varsity goal off an assist from Brandon LaSpina to give the Sabers a 6-0 lead.

Lakeland/Panas scored two goals in the last three minutes, but it was a dominant performance by the Sabers overall for the win. Tim Henning (nine saves) and Ben Winters (three saves) combined in goal for the Sabers to record the win. And Veteri added that Will O’Leary had another big game on defense for the Sabers and has performed well making the move from offense to defense this season.

“With a young team, getting this win definitely gives us a boost,” R.J. LaSpina, one of four senior captains, said. “No penalties, if we can keep that up for the rest of the year that will be great. We had two first time varsity goals and there’s no better feeling than seeing a freshman get their first goal.”

“It boosts our team momentum, gives us a positive attitude for the season,” captain Joe Jerie added. “We have some tough games coming up so it’s good to get that boost.”

The win over the Rebels came two days after the Sabers suffered a 3-1 loss to Mahopac. R.J. LaSpina scored the only goal of the game for the Sabers off assists from Dutt and his brother Brandon. Henning made 32 saves.

The Sabers return to the ice when they take on Fox Lane at 6:10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12 at Brewster Ice Arena.

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