Pelham’s Tristan Weeks (20) and White Plains Kevin McGee (8) battle for the puck during the game at the Ebersole Ice Rink in White Plains on Jan. 10, 2013. ( Ricky Flores / The Journal News ) To view a gallery of photos from the game, click here.
By Mike Dougherty
WHITE PLAINS — Eric Alpert loves the validation that comes each time a frustrated opponent slams a stick on the ice.
It seems to happen a lot.
The relentless forward was all over the ice and gave Pelham the momentum it needed to come back and post a 3-2 win over White Plains at Ebersole Ice Rink. A little old-fashioned hustle from Alpert on a penalty kill in the final minutes of the second period Thursday changed the game.
Sticks were slammed in frustration.
“Eric is not a guy who’s going to score 25 goals a year,” Pelicans coach Ed Witz said. “He’s an unbelievable penalty killer. He’s battling for every single loose puck. He’s going to outwork and outhustle people. He might not score 25 goals in his career, but he’s going to do things that don’t show up on the scoresheet.”
Alpert came flying into the zone and began to apply pressure as White Plains retrieved a puck and reset the power play.
“I just went into the corner and saw (Kevin McGee) was going to try to get out to the left side,” Alpert said. “I took him off the puck, but he got away with it and started going up, so I hit him again. Then another kid picked up the puck, so I just went after him and he fumbled it.”
Alpert was smiling ear hole to ear hole as Vincent Mazzaro pounced on the loose puck and quickly made it a 2-2 game with 1:48 to go in the period.
“It changed the game completely,” Alpert said.
The Tigers (7-4-1) have been hurt by a string of untimely miscues here since upsetting Suffern earlier in the season. It’s a win that has resulted in every visitor coming in with intensity.
“You know, the Suffern win was great, but we knew that wasn’t our season,” White Plains defenseman Chris Mediot said. “It was a step in the right direction. It was a wake-up call that we can compete in this section. We’re just as good as anybody. We have to come out and play that way every game.”
Will Donovan finished a rush 16 seconds into the third period to put Pelham (5-3-1) in front.
Matt Conroy pushed in a rebound in the final minute of the first to give the Tigers the lead , and Phil Variano scored off a faceoff in the first minute of the second. Hogan Peters got the Pelicans on the board when a rebound landed at his feet later in the period.
“We tell our guys do not allow the scoreboard to dictate the way you play,” Witz said.
Pelham kept the pressure on, and goalie Matt DeYoung kept coming up with big saves when White Plains was able to get a good look. He finished with 25 stops, including a string of denials in the final minute of the game.
The Tigers had two extra skaters after pulling the goalie and getting a whistle.
“There were at least five shots down there in the last minute,” DeYoung said. “I just kept watching the clock. Our team played great team defense, so it was a great minute for us.”