BREWSTER, N.Y.— At the start of a new season there are always question marks. There were a lot of new faces in the lineup for the Somers/North Salem ice hockey team as it took to the ice for its season opener Sunday night against Pawling at the Brewster Ice Arena.
Brandon LaSpina was not a question mark. Everyone knew he would be one of the leaders on offense for the Sabers at forward. He answered the call with a hat trick to lead the way as the Sabers crushed the Tigers for a 7-2 victory.
“It feels great, good to start off with a win,” LaSpina said. “It’s a new group of kids. On our line we just want to come together and score some goals. Some of the younger players really stepped up. Everyone played well and played solid defense. It was a good team win.”
LaSpina teamed up with returning varsity players Michael Garrity and Carley Bauckham on the first line and the trio combined for five goals. That line dominated as LaSpina finished with three goals and two assists, Bauckham had a goal and two assists and Garrity had a goal and an assist.
“We had a lot of questions and a lot of questions were answered,” Saber coach John Veteri said. “Our first line are returning players and we knew what they could do. Our second and third lines we kind of put together on the fly and I’m really impressed with them, especially our third line, which is all freshman girls — the Dineen sisters Hailey and Megan, along with Rachel Ross. They were outstanding for us today.”
Pawling scored the first goal of the game, but the Sabers then reeled off six-straight goals to take control. Bauckham scored the first goal of the game for the Sabers to even it up at 1-1 as she scored off assists from Garrity and LaSpina.
LaSpina then scored twice to give the Sabers a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period. Anthony Morea had an assist on the first LaSpina goal, and the second goal was unassisted.
The Sabers dominated the second period as they outshot Pawling 17-5 and scored twice to open up a 5-1 lead.
Will Wiegelman scored off assists from William O’Leary and Bauckham to make it 4-1. Garrity then scored off assists from Nick Caleri and Bauckham for a 5-1 lead.
LaSpina opened up the scoring in the third period with another unassisted goal to make it 6-1. After Pawling was able to score a power play goal to make it 6-2, Morea answered with a goal for the Sabers off an assist from LaSpina to close out the scoring with a 7-2 victory.
Another area of strength for the Sabers heading into the season is a veteran defense led by seniors Cross Santaniello, Michael Dutt and the O’Leary brothers, William and Richard. Goalie Ben Winter made 14 saves in goal as Veteri credited the defense for a strong game.
“Winter is a returning goalie from last year and he played really well under pressure in the first period and again in the third,” Veteri said. “The third period we had a lot of penalties and they were on the power play a lot. Ben stood up well and we played well defensively. For us it starts with our defense and our seniors led the way. Defensively, we played a very good game. It’s a good win to bring the team together.”
The Sabers hope to keep it going as they take on Mahopac this Friday, Dec. 9, at 7:10 p.m. at the Brewster Ice Arena. That is the start of a busy weekend as the Sabers travel to Sport-O-Rama in Rockland County to play Pearl River at 9 p.m. on Saturday, and then face-off against Rye Town/Harrison at 8:50 p.m. on Monday at Playland.