Mamaroneck’s Robert Morris (13) tries to back-hand a shot as Suffern goalie Nick Modica (30) and defenseman Anthony Carudo (4) fill the crease in the second period as the Suffern Mounties and Mamaroneck Tigers face off at Sport O Rama in Monsey on Feb. 1, 2013. ( John Meore/The Journal News )
To view a gallery of photos from the game, click here.
By Mike Dougherty
MONSEY — Nick Modica was on edge long before Teddy Bellis came flying in with a minute to play, looking to send the game into overtime.
It was the end of a busy evening for the Suffern goaltender, who got just enough of the puck before he wound up sprawled out across the ice to keep the last gasp from Mamaroneck from slipping in. And when the buzzer finally sounded Friday at Sport-O-Rama, the Mounties were able to celebrate a 3-2 win.
“Oh, man,” Modica said. “That one was really close to the goal line. I’ll tell you what, that was kind of scary.”
It was close the entire way, and the likelihood of a rematch during the upcoming playoffs is high.
“We kind of believed that would be the case even before the game,” Tigers coach Mike Chiapparelli said. “This confirms it. We know there are some other good teams and they could prevent a rematch, but we’d like to see them again.”
Mamaroneck, which had won five in a row, was off the leash immediately, repeating the game plan that led to a 4-3 win over Suffern three weeks ago. It was fast and physical in the early going and Modica was tested.
“It was definitely important keeping them off the board,” he said. “I like to get a lot of action in the first period, but at the same time, if you let one in they are off and rolling.”
It was scoreless at the first intermission.
The Tigers kept pushing in the second, but were soon playing from behind. Kevin Hill got loose deep and set up Justin Tiso, who scored in traffic with 10:42 to go in the second. It had to sting a little.
“I don’t know exactly how, but Kevin always sees me out there,” said Tiso, who was playing his second game after missing time with a foot injury.
The level of concern rose when Mamaroneck took a penalty five minutes later.
A loose puck gave Peter Conley a chance to skate in, and he spotted Bellis on his left crashing the net. The pass was on the money. A little stick work got Modica off balance and Bellis knotted the score with 5:25 to go in the period.
Both teams shortened up the benches to keep top players on the ice.
The Tigers’ defense was overplaying the puck in the corner when Tom Mahoney snuck inside the blue line and waited. Mamaroneck was killing off a penalty that carried into the third when Nick Jaeger sent a pass into open ice. Mahoney had a clean look and plenty of time.
And it was a 2-1 game just 88 seconds into the period.
Tom Brennan extended the lead to 3-1 with 8:42 to go, but the noise level plummeted when Brian Schiff threw a puck in off a set play on the ensuing faceoff.
“I think we were a little too excited,” Tiso said. “We celebrated a little too much there and you can’t be doing that. We have to get right back to work. That goal had us playing for our lives the last couple of minutes.”