No. 1 John Jay (20-1-1) vs. No. 2 Rye (17-4-1)
Brewster Ice Arena
Previous meeting: Connor McGovern scored from the blue line with four minutes remaining to break a 1-1 tie, and Rye added two empty netters to post a 4-1 win on Jan. 26 at SoNo Ice House.
Coach: Alex Smith
Forwards line by line: Frazier Bostwick (22G, 17A), Thomas Blaney (7G, 9A), Jack Grimm (15G, 9A); Shawn Smith (34G, 11A), Connor Moor (7G, 11A), Lucas Prestamo (6G, 9A); Jesse Gasparino, John Tobin (6G, 8A), Anthony Manno; Dylan McMichael, Kieran White, Cody Harris.
Defenseman: Anthony Scapperotti (3G, 14A) and Mark Leprine (7G, 14A); Jack Wertz and Jeremy Morowitz; Tyler Posadas.
Goalie: Matt Lanza (1.58 GAA, 92.3 percent).
Coach: Jason Friesen (Rye)
Forwards line by line: Cal Hynson (16G, 23A), Danny Sullivan (8G, 16A), Michael Benincasa (15G, 10A); Conor McGovern (14G, 5A), Jack O’Brien (16G, 8A), Griffin Tutun (7G, 8A); Cal Hynson, Peter Collins, Bredan Tripodi.
Defensemen: Jason Chin (3G, 17A) and Garrett DiEdwards; Chris Lipari and Max Bresolin.
Goalie: Aidan Talgo (1.81 GAA, 92.6 percent).
Keys to a John Jay win:
1. Another fast start is essential.
2. Cut down on penalties so third line can get some minutes and give the headliners some rest.
3. Don’t let Jason Chin handle the puck inside the blue line.
4. Create traffic in front to keep Aidan Talgo moving.
5. Believe in the system, know it’s going to be a close game and stay patient.
Key’s to a Rye win:
1. Pop right back up after each big hit.
2. Do not throw lazy clearing passes across the ice, John Jay buries those.
3. Crash the net, Matt Lanza hasn’t been letting rebounds get too far away.
4. Don’t let Frazier Bostwick or Sean Smith get through the neutral zone with the puck and momentum.
5. Get a goal or two from an unexpected source.
Predicition: I’ve seen both teams at their best, and if they meet that standard in the championship game, we’re heading for overtime. John Jay is bigger and stronger, but that advantage only comes into play when you can square up an opponent. Rye is a hyperactive group that zigs and zags with unrelenting intensity. And the Garnets are road-tested after logging hour after hour on the bus, so the home ice advantage the Indians have will be negated slightly as long as the fans show up. Both teams are counting on experienced upperclassmen to make plays so I don’t expect the nerves to be an issue beyond the opening minutes. I’m flipping a coin. Rye 5, John Jay 4.