BREWSTER, N.Y.— After falling into a 2-0 hole midway through the second period against John Jay-Cross River, Brandon LaSpina and Somers/North Salem knew it needed to make something happen to pull off a big win.
The Sabers did just that, rallying to earn a 3-2 victory over the Indians on Jan. 21 at Brewster Ice Arena.
LaSpina, a sophomore, netted the game winner on a feed from senior Cross Santaniello with just 3:45 left in the game.
“I heard the (John Jay) coach tell their player to watch me and as soon as he looked over to the coach, I snuck right behind him,” LaSpina said. “[Cross] missed the net short side and had a perfect bounce around the back and I was right there to slam it home.”
He previously tied the game up on an unassisted goal with 4:31 left in the second period. The sophomore said the goal came from “simply pressuring the defense.”
“I saw we kept forcing the defense to turn the puck over by pressuring them,” LaSpina said. “So I came in hard and the defender fumbled the pass and I controlled it and went by on a breakaway, shooting close side high.”
Senior Michael Garrity got Somers/North Salem on the board with 6:05 left in the second period. The goal came a minute after John Jay went up 2-0.
“The key to fighting back in this game was staying confident even after giving up a quick lead,” LaSpina said. “We all knew we had it in us to beat John Jay and we showed it. At the beginning, we were light due to people not feeling well and two players had to sit the first period. Some players had to fill those roles and to keep their confidence up which was huge in this win. Also, what really helped us win was our stellar defense from Nick Caleri and Michael Dutt. Two senior leaders that played outstanding together and made huge stops.”
Christopher Graham made 30 saves including 15 stops in the first period alone to preserve the win for the Sabers (7-5-1).
“Chris Graham came up big,” LaSpina said. “He kept his composure after letting in one quick goal and played his heart out. He was like a brick wall in net. He was the biggest key to this win.”
Somers/North Salem fell to Rye Town/Harrison 5-4 on Jan. 16. LaSpina (2G, 1A), Garrity (2G, 1A), Carley Bauckham (1A), Megan Dineen (1A), Nick Lopane (1A) and Ben Winter (13 saves) contributed to the win.
The Sabers, who have suffered all of their losses to Division 1 teams, traveled to Clarkstown on Jan. 25. They then face-off with Horace Greeley at 4:40 p.m. on Jan. 27 and host White Plains at 6:10 p.m. two days later with both games at Brewster Ice Arena.
“Every win is big but to beat John Jay was huge,” LaSpina said. “We always know how good they are and for us to step up in this situation is huge. We have a tough schedule this year and we are hanging in with all of them. This win will bring a lot of confidence to our team for the future.”