Ian Bass of Rye Town/Harrison tries to get the puck past Mahopac goalie Connor Doyle in a Section 1 Division 1 playoff game at the Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon Feb. 17, 2013. ( Seth Harrison / The Journal News ) To view a gallery of photos from the game, click here.
By Mike Dougherty
MOUNT VERNON — Brian Ketchabaw looked up in time and saw the odd-man rush coming up the ice. He calmly turned away, replaced the water bottle on top of the net, pulled the glove on, adjusted the mask and went right back to work.
He never blinked.
The sophomore goalie for Rye Town/Harrison showed incredible poise during a 4-1 win over Mahopac in the opening round of the Section 1 hockey tournament on Sunday at the Ice Hutch.
“I think I’ve had enough hockey experience where I jumped right into the game,” said Ketchabaw, who backed up his brother in goal last season. “I was telling everyone the first eight minutes is where you get the butterflies out, after that it’s a normal game. Except that this one means a lot more.”
Next up for the No. 6 Titans is a Division 1 quarterfinal against Mamaroneck on Tuesday.
No. 11 Mahopac (9-12) was not able to build any momentum during a difficult regular season and came in looking for a fresh start. The optimism began to fade seven minutes into the game when Joe Juliano put a low shot on goal from the left circle that went off the blade of Connor Doyle’s stick and into the net.
The celebration was delayed while the sophomore defenseman worked through a did-that-really-just-happen moment.
“I was off-balance there and was just trying to send the puck toward the net,” Juliano said. “I fanned and somehow it still went in, so I was lucky.”
It got worse for the Indians two minutes later when Ian Bass carried the puck in, and threw it just inside the left post to make it a 2-0 lead. That one inspired an early change between the pipes and put Mahopac into catch-up mode.
A little too much youthful enthusiasm resulted in a steady stream of RTH players being sent off. Ketchabaw was outstanding in net the entire game, but his best moments came when the Titans were playing short-handed.
He didn’t give up anything easy.
“We’re a chippy team sometimes,” said Ketchabaw, who made 36 saves. “I kind of like that, but I tell everyone that we have to keep our heads on straight. Taking 14 penalties against a team like Mamaroneck is not the same thing as taking 14 penalties against a team like Mahopac.”
The Indians kept shooting, and eventually one went in.
Joe Kirby came hustling in the final minutes of the second period, got a shot off that Ketchabaw could not cover and tapped in the rebound. It just barely trickled across, but the Indians suddenly had all the momentum.
“We’re a young team,” Bass said. “And this was a lesson for us. They beat us in the second period, but we came right back and beat them in the third.”
Mahopac had a 37-20 advantage in shots on goal.
“It was tough, but the kids stayed positive,” Indians coach Chris Lombardo said. “Ketchabaw is a great goalie. We finally figured out we had to get shots in the middle and hope for rebounds, but he’s just that good.”
Bass scored on the power play with 10 minutes to go to make it a 3-1 lead, and Mitchell Milbauer tacked on an empty-netter.