By Mike Dougherty
Each time White Plains hosts a marquee opponent, there’s a discussion about whether playing outdoors at Ebersole provides the upstart Tigers with a home ice advantage.
It can get chilly even with the roof and screens in place to block the wind.
Everyone on the roster grew up competing in the elements, so maybe it helped earlier in the year when White Plains upended Suffern. It certainly didn’t seem to be a factor, though, when Mamaroneck came in and posted a decisive win last win despite the bitter cold.
Maybe it’s more about execution on a given day.
“The weather this week was really cold,” Tigers forward Phil Variano said. “We practiced here every day, so we’re used to it. We’ve all grown up here. We’ve all played here since we were like 3 years old so you have to get used to it. Kids from other teams do tell me it’s cold, so I guess that’s an advantage for us.”
It’s tougher on the people outside the glass.
“The coldest person out there is me and the people who aren’t moving,” Tigers coach Howie Rubenstein said. “It didn’t look like Mamaroneck cared. Once you skate and get used to it, the cold isn’t a big deal. I think it’s all just hype.”
Either way, the weather is on the minds of every visiting team.
“It was pretty cold out there,” said Mamaroneck forward Robert Morris, who had a hat trick in the 6-2 win. “The first two minutes, I couldn’t feel my face, honestly. Once we got moving it was actually pretty nice.
“I don’t know about an advantage, maybe it comes from practicing here the whole week and getting used to the cold. Once you get moving, it’s just like any other rink so I really don’t see a big difference.”
Taussi comes back: The regret was immediate when Mike Taussi left Clarkstown before the season to concentrate on junior hockey with the New Jersey Hitmen. A month after he quit, the second thoughts spurred a return.
“I was trying to balance two teams, and I didn’t know whether I could do it, but now I am,” Taussi said. “I don’t have the best organizational skills, I guess, so it’s hard for me.”
Taussi, a senior at North, came back and participated in the required number of practices, then had to spend five games on the bench in uniform. He’s now a big part of an improved team that could make some postseason noise.
“Sitting out those games kind of made me mad, so I figured when I came back I would make a statement,” he said.
Taussi has the ability to break down a defense when necessary and he picked Clarkstown up with a pair of critical goals in a 4-2 win over North Rockland this week.
“He brings that offensive element into the game,” head coach Rich Willows said. “And when we do get all of our players back, it’s going to be huge for us because now we’re going to have four top centers who are going to go out on our four lines.”
In the crease: One more league win gives Somers/North Salem possession of the Conference I-A title. … Pelham clinched at least a tie for the Conference 2 title with a win over Scarsdale on Friday. … An upset loss to Fox Lane cost Greeley a share of the Conference 3 crown. Rye takes sole possession of the title with a win over Byram Hills. … Suffern will take another Conference 4 title with a win over Pearl River this week.