SOMERS, N.Y.-It’s been a rebuilding season for a young Somers/North Salem ice hockey team. The Sabers suffered three more losses last week at the hands of Mahopac, John Jay-Cross River and Mount Pleasant.
With just 13 skaters and two goalies on the roster, the Sabers haven’t had the depth to match up with many teams. That was evident in an 8-3 loss to a deep Mahopac team on Jan. 12 at Brewster Ice Arena.
“We need to limit our mistakes and play smarter hockey,” Somers/North Salem coach John Veteri said. “That’s what (Mahopac) did in the first two periods. They played smart hockey and they moved the puck well. We tried to go end to end and when you try to go end to end you burn yourselves out. We don’t have enough players to burn ourselves out.”
A Will Wiegelman goal from Haley Dineen cut Mahopac’s lead to 3-1 with 12:26 left in the first period.
The Sabers appeared to be back in the game, but that was quickly negated when Mahopac scored two goals over a span of 11 seconds to go up 5-1. Brian O’Shea found the back of the net just 12 seconds after Wiegelman’s goal. John Dignam extended the lead after that.
“That’s tough—a couple of bad bounces,” Veteri said. “That takes the wind right out of you. You learn from that and you try to limit those mistakes. You try to keep the momentum going on your side.”
Mahopac added another goal before Dineen scored with two seconds left in the second period on a feed from Brandon LaSpina to cut the deficit to 6-2.
Anthony Morea kept the comeback going when he trimmed Mahopac’s lead to 6-3 with LaSpina getting another assist with 11:08 left in the third period.
Veteri was proud that his team didn’t show any quit and that was what the coaches emphasized in the locker room heading into the final period. “We said, ‘You’ve got to play with some heart and some smarts and see what happens,’” Veteri said. “Get pucks to the net. That’s how we scored all three of our goals. We got pucks to the net. They weren’t pretty, but the pucks went in. Until the last whistle, they kept going.”
Mahopac regained control after that, however, closing out the game wiath two goals.
The Indians peppered the Sabers’ goalies with 56 shots and kept Somers/North Salem on its heels throughout the contest. Chris Graham made 38 saves for the Sabers while backup Ben Winter stopped 10 shots.
“Christopher Graham always stands on his head regardless of what the score says,” Veteri said. “It could be a lot more if he wasn’t in net.”
Two days earlier, a short-handed Sabers team was blanked by John Jay-Cross River 8-0 at BIA. Graham (20 saves) and Winter combined for 39 saves.
Somers/North Salem battled Mount Pleasant in a 5-4 defeat on Jan. 14.
The Ice Cats led 3-2 after two periods and added a goal midway through the third to go up 4-2. Morea and LaSpina (2G, 1A) tallied two goals to tie the game up but Mount Pleasant was able to score the game winner with 3:38 left.
Will O’Leary added one goal and one assist for the Sabers, who fell to 2-9 on the season. Rachel Ross had an assist.
Somers/North Salem will look to get on track when it faces Horace Greeley at 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 19. The next day they take on Monroe-Woodbury at 4:30 p.m. on the road.
“We’re a young team and we’re battling some injuries and whatnot,” Veteri said. “We’ve got to keep chugging along and keep gaining experience. That’s all I’ve said all season.”