Suffern won its third consecutive section championship last night. It’s been a long road this season.
As coach Rob Schelling (right) said after the game, no one knew what they would have this season. They started out 3-2, losing to Christian Brothers Academy (Syracuse) and Mamaroneck. Then they lost the first meeting with Clarkstown North, 6-4. But the Mounties pulled together, their defense improved, both lines of offense improved, and they won this section championship as a team. Since the loss to North at the Palisades Center they’ve been perfect. 17 in a row.
This game was well attended. I showed up about 40 minutes prior to the scheduled game time (meaning about an hour before the actual start of the game), and it was already standing room only.
The loft above the locker rooms was packed with people. The Clarkstown North DJ, News 12, video people from both teams, assistant coaches, a couple of coaches from Christian Brothers Academy in Albany (Clarkstown North’s next opponent), Ramapo town supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, etc.
This was the view that we had from up there. Where this picture is taken from, if a shot comes from Natoli’s right and he pops it into the air with his stick, it’s coming right at your face.
During warm-ups, the News 12 camera was hit by a puck, nearly ending their night early. Shortly after that, I noticed St. Lawrence and the Suffern video guy having a conversation while hunkered down like they were hiding from a sniper.
Suffern was very efficient in the first period. They came out with plenty of energy, but they didn’t let the energy take over and cause them to make mental mistakes. They hit hard, skated fast, passed well, and finished on three opportunities to make it 3-0 after the first period.
Chris McIndoe (right) was very impressive in goal for North. He’s only a sophomore this season. He’s going to be some player. That sophomore class at North is pretty solid – McIndoe, Matt Willows, and Jake Shuman.
Oh, and by the way, can we decide on one location for the flag at Sport-O-Rama? There’s one hanging over center ice, and there’s one on the wall towards the parking lot. The team that lines up on the blue line farthest from the locker rooms never seems to know which flag to face, so it always looks like half of them are turning their backs in protest during the national anthem, but you can’t tell which half. It usually ruins a perfectly good photo opportunity like this:
Anyway, I think the assumption that Suffern gets favoritism when they play at Sport-O-Rama was tested tonight. The Mounties took more penalties than the Rams, and had what seemed to be a third period goal waved off. It seemed that Zach Salt had completed a hat trick when he beat McIndoe on a breakaway, but the ref said the puck didn’t completely cross the line. Honestly, I was all the way on the other end of the ice, so I have no idea on that one.
Matt Willows didn’t get a lot of room to operate in this game or in the last one against Suffern. Though North outshot the Mounties 17-1 in the third period, that doesn’t give you a complete picture of how the period went. Not all of those were open shots or from close to the goal, which is what you absolutely need against Natoli.
Natoli stopped a slap shot by Rich Willows with 20 seconds left, and the rebound came out to Jake Shuman, who tried to backhand it in, but Natoli made the kick save. I really thought we were going to overtime on that sequence.
Then North had Natoli’s stick measured to find it wasn’t regulation. Said Natoli:
“I just bought that stick before the game. I’m going to go yell at the guy in the pro shop about that one.”
So with their goalie pulled, North had a 6-on-4 in the final 15 seconds, with a faceoff in Suffern’s zone. But with a man in the box, the Mounties had the ability to simply ice the puck without consequences, which is what Chris Wynne did to ice the game.
I have to get ready for the John Jay-Fox Lane game tonight at 7 p.m. at Brewster. It’s a Division 2 semifinal. The other semi is between Rye and Pawling at Playland at 8.
I think Rick Carpiniello also wrote something up on his blog about this game. It’s at “According to Carp”:http://carp.lohudblogs.com/.
I’ll probably never use this many photos on the blog again. It’s just that Pete Carr did such a good job shooting this game and its aftermath. There are a lot more great shots I didn’t have room for.