While there’s some new blood in Division II with Ossining and Brewster, the same four teams are back in the Division I semifinals. Last season Mamaroneck beat White Plains 4-3 and Suffern beat Mahopac 7-2. This time the matchups are different, though one thing remains the same — considering Mamaroneck and Suffern both swept Mahopac and split with White Plains, the No. 1 seed seems to have an advantage.
No. 1 Mamaroneck (22-2-1) vs. No. 4 Mahopac (10-14-1), 5:30 p.m. at Hommocks: Mamaroneck won the first two meetings 7-2 and 5-0, with Luke Glaser stopping 24 of 25 shots over five periods and eight different players finding the net. Here’s an interesting fact: Mamaroneck has a dozen players with 12 or more points, while Mahopac has three. Plus the Tigers received a mini-scare in their opening game against North Rockland, falling behind 2-1 in the second period, so they should be ready from the opening whistle this time. The Indians should be commended for getting back to the semifinals for the sixth (or is it seventh?) straight year, but they benefitted from an easy bracket this time, playing two League 4 teams, and still needed a goal in the final minute of regulation to take Lakeland/Panas to overtime. Tyler Perrelle has been an outstanding leader and player for the program, Chris Mastrocola is one of the fastest players in the section and Bobby Fatone has made some big saves, but at the risk of sounding like a broken record, Mamaroneck’s depth will make the difference. I don’t know who will step up, but someone will. Mamaroneck 5, Mahopac 2.
No. 2 Suffern (17-5-2) vs. No. 3 White Plains (14-9-2), 7 p.m. at Sport-O: I’m not going to carried away by White Plains’ 4-0 win three weeks ago at Ebersole. I’ve probably seen Suffern play a dozen times in two seasons, and that was by far the most lethargic performance I’d ever seen from them, while the Tigers were fired up to beat the Mounties for the first time in history. Likewise, I’m not putting too much stock in Suffern’s 3-1 win at Sport-O, since White Plains was missing its entire first forward line (two suspensions and a vacation conflict), and the Tigers rely on tiring out opponents with relentless pressure from multiple scoring lines. While the Tigers have been inconsistent at times, there’s no denying how good they can be when they’re on — they are the only team in the state that’s beaten three of the top five teams in the Division I state rankings (Suffern, Mamaroneck and Clarkstown North). Still, I’m taking Suffern. I see a tight, low-scoring game, and I trust the Mounties more to maintain their composure and not take an unnecessary risk or a silly penalty. White Plains has had an unbelievable season and I’ve been wrong to pick against them in the past (see: Wednesday), but I think Paul Gabriel makes some huge saves and someone outside Suffern’s first line comes through with the winner. Suffern 3-2.