By Mike Dougherty
YONKERS — Talk about making waves.
A stubborn Pearl River team opened the season with a 4-2 upset win over Scarsdale on Monday at E.J. Murray Skating Center. It was more than a memorable victory. An event like this can push a young team to new heights.
“There’s no way it could be any better,” Pirates forward Patrick Burns said. “I know this will get us going, and hopefully we carry it on into the season.”
After going into overtime before pulling out a win against Pearl River last season, the Raiders certainly knew what this opponent was capable of. A talented offensive unit was too delicate with the puck in the early going, and when the Raiders starting unleashing shots, goalie Sam Coughlin got in the way.
He came up with 28 saves.
“It’s good as long as I’m getting in their heads and they’re not getting in mine,” Coughlin said. “This is huge for us, especially after losing our first game of the season each of the past two years. It’s a huge confidence builder.”
Burns got the Pirates on top when he went deep off the opening faceoff and took a hearty swipe at the puck 27 seconds into the game. It trickled across the goal line.
“I made a move on the defender and the puck got loose,” he said. “I spun around, took a swing and it slipped across. That was amazing. It got the boys really pumped after that one.”
Devon Schell drove a goal in from inside the right circle with 4:42 to go in the opening period to knot the score, but Scarsdale was not playing well. The defense kept getting caught out of position. Max McGee got Pearl River back in front in the opening minutes of the second period when he set up near the point for a power-play blast.
Brian Caffrey made it a 3-1 game when his slap shot from the right side deflected in off a defenseman. A couple of emotional mistakes nearly cost the Pirates in the third period, but the penalty kill was spot on.
Pearl River killed three penalties in the final 12 minutes.
“I’m glad we called an extra practice yesterday and spent most of that time working on the penalty kill,” said Pirates coach Brian DelSavio, who was making his debut. “The best penalty killer is always the goalie, and Sam played great. They all did.”
James Felix lifted a goal past Coughlin with 1:05 to play, but Kevin Murphy found the empty net 20 seconds later to seal the win.