Scarsdale forward James Nicholas throws a shot on John Jay goalie Matt Lanza during the first period of a boys varsity hockey game in Yonkers Jan. 7, 2013. The Indians won 4-1. ( Matthew Brown/ The Journal News ) To view a gallery of photos from the game, click here.
(Note:The last three paragraphs didn’t fit in the paper, so I added them back on here).
By Mike Dougherty
YONKERS — Matt Lanza thought John Jay was capable of going deep into the postseason coming into a showdown against Scarsdale.
And now he is certain.
The undefeated Indians were end-to-end impressive, posting a 4-1 win on Monday at E.J. Murray Skating Center in the first big test of the season. It was tense until the very end. The Raiders were down a couple of key bodies, and still managed to hang close.
It was their first loss.
“We haven’t played a great team in the first nine games,” said Lanza, who made 32 saves. “Our league isn’t bad, but those are teams we should beat. This was our first test, and we really wanted to come out charged up.”
Both teams were ready.
The pace of play was furious right from the start and John Jay (10-0) was playing the body with a little extra fervor. And while the Raiders (6-1-1) gave away pounds and inches at every spot on the ice, they were not backing down.
“We try to bring it physically every game,” senior forward Jack Grimm said. “They were pretty good, though, really strong on the puck.”
Devon Schell, a dangerous scorer on Scarsdale’s potent first line got tangled up along the boards in the opening minute and left the game and went down with a knee injury. He was unable to return and left the game on crutches.
The Raiders made a change in goal, giving sophomore Gabriel Harousseau his first varsity start. He did fine. Anthony Scapperotti thought he broke the scoreless tie a heartbeat before the buzzer to end the first period, but he was a heartbeat late. Haroussea made 31 saves.
Grimm skated onto a loose puck in the slot 23 seconds after the first intermission and threw it straight in.
“I was trying to dump one in,” he said. “The puck went off a ref’s skate, and luckily it came right back to me. It felt good to break the tension of a 0-0 game, but it didn’t change much for us. We kept on playing the same way.”
Having so many experienced upper classmen allowed John Jay to keep fresh legs on the ice, and the men in black and purple kept coming over the wall in waves like oversized ninjas. There was sustained pressure late in the second, and Thomas Blaney made it a 2-0 lead from the bottom of the circle.
The goal came right after Indians goalie Lanza had gone low to stop a second James Nicholas breakaway.
“We knew that he was the player to watch,” Lanza said. “He did get loose a couple of times. I went to a goalie coach once, and he taught me how to stop a breakaway, so I guess I have a technique. I just don’t know how to describe it.”
The Raiders struggled to finish, which has not happened often this season.
“We didn’t have trouble getting the puck in,” Scarsdale coach Jim Mancuso said. “We didn’t have trouble getting scoring chances. We just had a hard time getting the puck in the net.”
James Felix did finally get the Raiders on the board, putting a rebound back with 9:47 to play. Frazier Bostwick got some insurance for John Jay when he flashed past the net and finished with 5:39 to play and Grimm got an empty-net goal at the very end.