North Rockland’s James Morina (5) skates past Clarkstown’s Steve Fish (27) as Clarkstown and North Rockland face off on Jan. 23, 2013 at Sport-O-Rama in Monsey. ( John Meore/The Journal News ) / John Meore/The Journal News
By Mike Dougherty
MONSEY — With four players out of the lineup, Clarkstown had to put a lot of thought into what it was attempting to accomplish.
And the pace of the game slowed to a crawl.
“They’re skating their tails off,” Clarkstown head coach Rich Willows said. “It’s just continuity. We’re not in the right places. The passes are just a little bit off and we had to compensate for that. North Rockland plays such a great defensive system, so without continuity, you’re not going to break through.”
It took some individual effort to get the win.
Mike Taussi came up with two nifty scoring plays Wednesday and lifted Clarkstown to a 4-2 win over the Red Raiders Sport-O-Rama.
There was no inspiration until North Rockland jumped in front.
Clarkstown was in control right from the start, but wasn’t able to find a lot of high-percentage shots. The Red Raiders waited patiently for mistakes. Clarkstown let the puck escape along the boards eight minutes into the first and Danny Moore chased it down in the corner.
He dug the blades in and waited for James Morina to catch up, then set the freshman up for a pretty one-timer.
“It definitely lit a fire under me,” said Taussi, who hustled into the zone and shot a laser from the left circle past Anthony DePinto a minute later to knot the score. “And it got our team going, too. We didn’t play as a team. We had trouble passing. Individually, we played pretty well, but you need to play as a team.”
Both teams were missing key players because of recent fighting suspensions and injuries.
Taussi struck again to move Clarkstown in front 2-1 with 4:16 to go in the second. He came down the slot this time and drifted left, crossing over a couple of times after he spotted open net inside the far post.
“On the first goal, (the goalie) seemed to be weaker on (the glove) side,” the senior forward said. “I just decided to put it there again. And it worked. I was a little reluctant on that one because I didn’t know if I should go high or low.”
It was a close game, which seems to inspire the Red Raiders.
“We can go in and compete with just about anyone in the section now, save a few teams,” North Rockland coach Gary Dworkowitz said. “We’ve gotten better defensively and do a good job. Our problem is scoring.”
Clarkstown was all over the puck to start the third period, but nothing went in the net until Matt Preiss reached into a crowd and poked in a rebound with 3:47 to go. It wasn’t the dagger. Moore got loose a minute later and got the Red Raiders back within 3-2.
The mood changed again with 1:47 left to play when Adam Meyers came in and got the insurance goal.
“It’s tough. It’s hard,” Moore said. “We try to keep their top scorers in check. We have to block some shots, too. The offense is coming around, but we gotta work hard to score.”