Rye’s Cal Hynson (11) scores a goal past Horace Greeley goalie Neil Hershman during their Division 2 semifinal hockey game at Hommocks Feb. 22, 2013. ( Peter Carr / The Journal News ) / Peter Carr/The Journal News To view a gallery of photos from the game, click here.
By Nancy Haggerty
LARCHMONT — It came down, probably as it should have, to a battle between league foes who’d fought to an overtime draw the only previous time they’d met.
Horace Greeley had displayed a more potent regular-season offense and Rye a stingier defense.
Friday at Hommocks Park Ice Rink, Rye goalie Aidan Talgo was even stingier than usual, turning away 27 shots as the Garnets defeated Greeley 4-1 to advance to Sunday’s Section 1 Division 2 finals at Brewster Ice Arena.
Cal Hynson, the Garnets’ leading point man, proved to be a difference-maker, his first goal of the game breaking a 1-1 tie with 10:56 left in the second period and his second at 9:05 of the third providing all the insurance Rye would need.
Rye got a big lift from the return of senior forward Michael Benincasa, who’d been out since Jan. 12 with stress fractures to two vertebrae.
“We didn’t want to go home,” Benincasa explained of his squad’s play.
Benincasa, who used a hyperbolic chamber owned by his physician aunt five days a week for three weeks to hasten his healing, beat Greeley goalie Neil Hershman with 1:29 left in the first period to give the Garnets a short-lived 1-0 lead.
Short-lived equated to little more than a minute as Sam Mishkind scored for Greeley with fewer than 25 seconds left in the period off a great feed from Scott Jakubowicz.
But while Greeley kept the pressure on Talgo, the Quakers couldn’t find the net — the result, according to Greeley coach Zach Dargaty, both of Talgo’s play and his squad not getting “quality finishes.”
Up by two goals, Talgo stole a goal or two from Greeley, making four huge stops in a 25-second span that began with a Rye timeout with 5:07 left in the game.
“Aidan has come up big all year. … He came up huge out of that (timeout),” Hynson said.
Explaining his first goal, a wrister over a partially screened Hershman, Hynson noted he shot without looking, “staring down” his winger, who was cutting to the other side of the goalie.
The lefty sniper’s second goal was a snapper off a semi-break.
Hershman had 15 saves, including a nice sprawling save shortly before the second period expired.
Rye added an empty-netter by Jack O’Brien.
The No. 3 Quakers finish at 15-4-2. The No. 2 Garnets are 17-4-1.
“You need some lucky bounces sometimes in these games. I don’t think anyone leaves here thinking they were better than us,” Dargaty said.
Nick Girardi, one of four seniors left over from Greeley’s 0-18 team of three seasons ago, said his thoughts about his final season would always be positive.
“To come from there to where we are now, it’s really an amazing run,” he said.