From left, New Rochelle’s Chris Ramondelli (10) and Mamaroneck’s Ted Bellis (4) battle for puck control during boys hockey game at the Hommocks Park Ice Rink in Mamaroneck Jan. 18, 2013. ( Frank Becerra Jr / The Journal News ) To view a gallery of photos from the game, click here.
By Mike Dougherty
LARCHMONT — Mamaroneck came out looking to make something happen right away. The intensity was as good as it’s been all season. Pressure built with every shift and New Rochelle was having a difficult time keeping up with the puck.
It was nearly an early blowout.
And when Teddy Bellis absorbed a nasty blindside hit that went unnoticed by the officials, the Tigers nearly lost their minds and wound up fighting to hang on to an emotional 6-5 win over a rival program on Friday at Hommocks Park Ice Rink.
It was another valuable lesson learned.
“We’re a close team,” Mamaroneck defenseman Brian Schiff said. “Teddy took the physical part of that hit, but we all felt it. To a degree, it added an edge for a little while, and then we kind of lost our heads.”
The Tigers were fast and furious in the opening minutes.
Peter Conley started the scoring, but a Mark Umbro wrist shot knotted the score. Trey Herlitz-Ferguson left Robert Morris with a tap-in and Spencer Kupferberg made it a 3-1 advantage in the closing minutes of the first.
“Not a lot of teams play that way,” Huguenots defenseman Kenny Belvin said of the initial surge. “When you do get that, it’s kind of like, ‘Whoa.’ It threw us off.”
Bellis was trailing a breakout early in the second period when he wound up flat on his back looking up at the ceiling. Teammates were furious. Conley stormed in with the puck the first chance he got and got a clean look.
New Rochelle goalie Greg Feliu made the stop, but Kupferberg was in position for the putback.
“We played so well until that horrible hit,” Tigers coach Mike Chiapparelli said. “And then our kids got emotional, which they shouldn’t have, and we let them right back into the game.”
It was 4-2 after Belvin fired a puck into a corner of the net from just inside the blue line.
Conley responded with a killer move in the left corner to get by a defender and score while flashing in front with 12 seconds to go in the period. It was a 5-2 lead, but the Mamaroneck faithful took notice of the warning signs.
The Tigers were trying a little too hard to finish the game.
Gambling is what gets this team in trouble, and Umbro scored his second goal two minutes into the third to give the Huguenots more life. Jason Bienstock applied what should’ve been the dagger with 9:37 to go, but New Rochelle wasn’t done.
“We gotta stop getting down early, but we didn’t quit down three goals with nine minutes to play,” Huguenots forward Chris Ramondelli said.
A bad turnover set Brett Barry free and he cashed in with a short-handed goal with 4:17 to go. Belvin poked in a shot by Ramondelli that bounced off Tigers goalie Thomas Brill with 3:27 left.
The Tigers were suddenly in a cold sweat.
“Oh, man,” Conley said. “They probably could’ve scored four or five goals at the end. We got lucky.”