Suffern’s Anthony Carudo (4) and Don Bosco’s Rory Garlasco (8) take part in a ceremonial puck drop by Kami Joyce Kennedy, center, at the first annual Thomas Kennedy “TK” Cup hockey game on Feb. 7, 2012 at the Ice Vault in Wayne, N.J. The cup is dedicated in honor of Kami’s husband, Army Maj. Thomas Kennedy, who grew up in New City, played youth hockey in Suffern and attended Don Bosco Prep, in Ramsey, N.J. ( John Meore/The Journal News ) To view a gallery of photos from the game, click here.
By Mike Dougherty
WAYNE, N.J. — Suffern was no doubt eyeing the gleaming silver cup that was put in play during a pregame ceremony to commemorate a fallen hero, but there simply was no spark.
Very few opponents have been able to outwork the Mounties in recent seasons, but Don Bosco was dominant in a 3-0 win on a special night set aside to honor slain U.S. Army Major Thomas Kennedy at the Ice Vault.
“It was very emotional,” Suffern captain Anthony Carudo said of Thursday’s pregame ceremony. “It was a great honor for us to be part of this.”
The schools came together beforehand to honor Kennedy, who was killed in August while serving in Afghanistan. Like his older brothers, the New City native was a fixture at Sport-O-Rama, skating with the Ramapo Saints program. Kennedy went on to play at Don Bosco and then West Point.
He left behind a wife, Kami, and two young children, Brody and Margaret.
“T.K. and the entire Kennedy family had a connection with so many Suffern hockey players and families,” Mounties coach Rob Schelling said. “The Kennedy family is as class as class can get and anyone who was connected with the boys or Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy were fortunate to know them. The Suffern hockey team is honored to be able to play for such an incredible person as Tom Kennedy.”
The Ironmen also retired his No. 10 jersey.
Each year, the neighboring powers will come together and play for the T.K. Cup, adding to what’s become a nice rivalry.
“Whenever there’s a trophy at stake, you want it bad,” Carudo said. “For us, this one is special because of what it symbolizes.”
Suffern (15-3) had plenty of intensity at the start, but was soon running on fumes, running two lines and three defensemen. Griffen Welch gave Don Bosco (15-7) a 1-0 lead when he pushed a soft rebound through Nick Modica’s legs.
The Mounties goalie was busy and kept the game close, making 43 saves.
“We’re still missing a few guys,” Schelling said of the depth issue. “Come playoff time, we’ll be at full strength for the first time since the beginning of January. We’ll get a good week of practice together, and we’ll be ready.”
Shots were hard to come by, and there was a moment of hope when a volley from Joe Verboys sailed in early in the second, but it was quickly waived off because of a high stick.
Jimmy Rainy exploited a defensive mistake with six minutes to go in the second period and gave the Ironmen a 2-0 lead. Suffern was gasping for air. The Mounties were doing enough to draw penalties, but they went 0 for 5 on the power play.
That’s a problem that has to be sorted out.
“I thought they were very good at clearing people out in front of the net,” Suffern forward Kevin Hill said. “We were trying to get traffic, but they weren’t letting us get in. They’re a great team so it was good for us to play them before the playoffs. They’re probably the best team we’ve played all season.”
Lucas Luppino finished the scoring when he threw in an empty-net goal with 14 seconds to play.