By Mike Dougherty
MONSEY — Optimism seems to die quickly on this ice.
A string of hopefuls that includes the likes of Pearl River and Pelham came into Sport-O-Rama looking to stare down Suffern, only to fall behind early and suffer a humbling loss. Mamaroneck joined that list on Friday, absorbing a 9-2 loss to the Mounties.
“We definitely like playing here,” said Kevin Hill, who scored four goals and reached the 100-point milestone. “It helps us a lot. There’s so much atmosphere and we’re all comfortable because we’ve been skating here since we were little kids.”
It was the first meeting between these longtime rivals since an overtime classic in last year’s Division I championship game. Suffern won that game, making it four Section 1 titles in a row.
Mamaroneck hit the road early in the season, making four trips upstate to season the freshmen and sophomores who are going to play significant roles.
And the Tigers were not shy in the opening minutes. They got a puck or three on goalie Nick Modica, but Hill accounted for a quick momentum swing, though, when he jumped on a turnover deep in the zone and gave the Mounties a 1-0 lead.
It’s not the first time something like that’s happened.
Suffern (6-1) is deadly when an opponent makes a mistake with the puck, and has feasted on miscues. Hill got run into the boards shortly after his opening salvo, and C.J. Greco picked up a quick power-play goal to increase the advantage.
Then came showtime.
Hill took advantage of the extra space on another power-play chance, the senior zigging and zagging through a trio of Mamaroneck players before finishing in style to make it a 3-0 cushion. In the final minute of the period, Hill got a defender on his hip, went wide right with the puck and set up Justin Tiso while falling to the ice.
When the horn sounded, the Tigers were thoroughly frustrated.
“Our goal every period is to basically make the other team want to quit,” Modica said. “We are looking to make them not want to come out for the next period, and that’s kind of what we’ve been able to do.”
Mamaroneck (4-5) did come out with some more intensity in the second period, but that was dulled by five more Suffern goals in the second period.
Dan Demarco started the next scoring wave and Hill got two more in the flurry, before taking a seat on the bench for the rest of the game.