By Mike Dougherty
BREWSTER — Perhaps somebody needed to change the subject in the locker room before John Jay hit the ice.
While the Indians have yet to lose a game, they do sometimes lose focus.
“It really starts in the locker room with any team,” senior forward Connor Moore said. “Most times it’s just hockey before the game. I don’t feel like tonight we did a good job of preparing ourselves in the locker room.”
And that nearly proved costly.
Somers/North Salem only needed a couple of minutes to get up to speed against John Jay. The Sabers did not have to be reminded about playing with the proper intensity, and they ran the Indians around pretty well Sunday before settling for a 4-4 tie at Brewster Ice Arena.
“Nobody knows about us yet,” Somers/North Salem goalie Matt Rubenstein said after making 39 saves to keep things very interesting. “Now, if we had beaten John Jay, I’m sure that would’ve put us on the map.”
The Sabers are 6-1-1 in their last eight games, and are currently sitting atop Conference I-A, so this game was very important. Before the season is over, Somers/North Salem (10-3-2) could be in the conversation.
John Tobin got John Jay in front in the first minute, but Mitch Lanyi made it a 1-1 game late in the first period. Jack Grimm put the Indians back on top early in the second, but David Rubenstein netted the equalizer in short order.
“I think you have to give SNS credit for slowing us down,” John Jay coach Alex Smith said. “They clogged up the neutral zone and were very prepared to play.”
Grimm scored later in the second to give the Indians (11-0-1) a 3-2 edge, but Wilson McCloy knotted the score with 12 seconds to go in the period. John Jay spent a fair amount of time killing penalties, and was in a tough spot after taking a major for using the butt end of the stick.
That’s four minutes of tired legs.
The Sabers used a lot of time getting organized and were unable to apply consistent pressure until the final 45 seconds of the power play. Smart puck movement finally got Somers/North Salem in front with 7:53 left in the contest.
Noah Hale got the goal. McCloy and David Rubenstein got the assists.
“We struggled just getting the puck in,” McCloy said. “We knew that if we stayed patient and moved the puck, it would go in. It felt great, but then we had a little bit of a letdown there and it killed us.”
Exactly 11 seconds later, Moore scored to make it 4-4.
“It started off with a strong forecheck,” he said. “We have a lot of pride in doing the work, and Sean Smith went in hard and dug the puck out of the corner.”
That one stung the Sabers.
“I was so happy we got the lead,” said Matt Rubenstein, who made seven stops in overtime. “We were finally ahead of this great team, but I looked at the clock and knew there was a lot of time left and John Jay really came back aggressive.”