BREWSTER, N.Y.— After two winless seasons, Lakeland/Panas’ ice hockey squad completed an amazing turnaround, clinching a spot in the Section 1 Division 1 tournament by beating Eastchester/Tuckahoe/Bronxville 6-3 on Feb. 3 at the Brewster Ice Arena.
“I am still trying to fathom the fact that after going through two winless seasons, we clinched a playoff berth,” Lakeland/Panas forward Anthony Cappello said. “As a senior captain, clinching a playoff berth for me, my teammates, my coaches and all the parents that have witnessed us struggle over the years, is unspeakable. It is an excellent way to end my varsity career and I’m so proud of all my teammates, coaches and parents for believing in me and believing in this team.”
Lakeland/Panas started off fast, leading 3-0 at the end of the second period.
“Although we were missing a couple key players in last night’s game, we managed to bear down and win without them,” Cappello said. “Our forecheck and back check were superb and that enabled us to score early and continue to possess the lead throughout the entire game.”
Offensively, the Rebels were spurred on by P.J. Kowal (2G, 2A), Cappello (1G, 3A), Christian Jimenez (2G, 1A), Matt Sillcocks (2A) and Matt Zivan (1G).
“Over the past week in practice, we focused on our team’s forecheck and applying pressure in the offensive zone,” Cappello said. “We performed drills that strictly force the use of forechecking. This is how we had a well-balanced attack.”
Making 15 saves in goal for the Rebels (8-9-1) was Matt Piciocchi.
Brewster/Yorktown recorded a substantial 5-3 win against North Rockland at Sport-O-Rama on Feb. 3.
“The win against North Rockland was a huge win for the team,” Yorktown junior goalie Dylan Tolbert said. “The win not only boosted our confidence as a team but also put us in the No. 4 spot in Section 1’s finest.”
Colin Dineen (1G, 2A), Connor Henderson (1G, 1A), Michael Isola (1G), Sepp Boeschl (1G), Rory McLaughlin (1G), Chris Froessel (1A) and Anuj Gupta (1A) all contributed offensively for Brewster/Yorktown (12-2-2), which held a 4-0 lead after two periods.
“The team came out with a mentality of getting a quick lead to get in the other team’s head and it worked,” Tolbert said. “We got up 2-0 in the first and then had an amazing breakaway goal from Sepp Boeschl. The rest of the game the team played shut down defense.”
Tolbert secured the victory by making 37 saves.
“I stepped up for the team and played my game with the support of all my teammates throughout the game, especially Sepp,” Tolbert said. “I knew that we could win if I just played my game.”
Brewster/Yorktown played Somers/North Salem at the BIA the next night, defeating the Sabers 3-2, led by Gupta (1G), Dineen (1G), Connor Sullivan (1G), Henderson (1A), Isola (1A), Justin Groux (1A), Boeschl (1A) and Tolbert (20 saves).