By Mike Dougherty
BREWSTER — A couple of troubling early season losses nearly drained the momentum Horace Greeley had built in recent seasons.
It was never a question of talent.
There are still a number of issues that have to be cleared up in the coming months, but the Quakers did themselves a lot of good on Sunday when they dug in and survived a chaotic third period and skated off with a memorable 6-4 win over John Jay at Brewster Ice Arena.
“I don’t think it was one specific problem,” sophomore forward Matt Zandi said following a two-goal evening. “We needed the right game to boost us up. We have all the talent in the world and we just needed to put it all together once, and I think this game was it.”
The Indians never got a chance to settle in.
Lucas Prestamo had John Jay (3-2) in front at the first intermission, but Henry Girardi knotted the score five minutes into the second period. Zandi and Scott Jakubowicz then came up with short-handed goals to put Greeley (4-3-1) in front 3-1.
“The guys were working so hard to get us back into the game there was no flow,” Indians coach Alex Smith said.
Each team was missing a top defenseman — Mark Leprine was out of the John Jay lineup with a concussion and Owen Gatta did not play for Greeley because he’s on a family trip.
Five penalties down the stretch made for a bumpy ride.
It was a 4-4 deadlock after Shawn Smith whistled a 5-on-3 shot into the net, but a tricky bounce a few minutes later turned Sam Mishkind loose for a breakaway goal with 2:56 to go after Dean Klein made a hustle play to break up a 2-on-1 break the other way.
It was an uh-oh moment.
“John Tobin and I were coming down 2 on 1, and that defenseman made a nice play,” Smith said.
“Both our defensemen came to pinch and grab the puck, but they missed it. That was like a spear to the heart right there.”
The Quakers had room to breathe when Jakubowicz, who played a junior game in Maryland on Sunday morning, scored with two minutes remaining.
“My dad drove pretty fast and I got here right as the first period ended,” he said.
“It was a good win, but we still have half a season to go. They are the champions, and we knew they were going to push back in the third, but we pushed back, too.”