By Mike Dougherty
LARCHMONT – There was a relatively awkward pause after Joey Livornese realized a slap shot taken by a teammate during warm-ups had snapped the blade of his skate. It dragged on for nearly 45 minutes. The sophomore goalie eventually went to work in borrowed skates, and put on quite a show.
It was the biggest assist of the game.
Livornese came up with 35 saves, leading Rye Town/Harrison to a defining 3-1 win over Mamaroneck on Saturday at Hommocks Park Ice Rink.
“The last shot in warm-ups hit my skate and broke the blade in half,” he said. “A parent here went home and got me a pair of skates to use. I was a little uncomfortable at first because they felt a lot different than mine, but we joked that I might need to borrow them again.”
Livornese was the one and only netminder available with Titans starter Brian Ketchabaw playing a junior game.
And he was hot from the start.
The Tigers (4-6) were buzzing around in the opening minutes, but Livornese stopped everything. Ian Bass went hard to the net with 6:37 left in the first period and scored off a Michell Milbauer pass to get RTH (5-4) in front.
It was a meaningful goal.
After losing to Mamaroneck by a 9-0 margin here in last year’s playoffs, the Titans were looking for a little confidence. They have also endured a few early-season bumps while adjusting to first-year coach Peter Thomas , who’s putting in a new system of play.
This could be a turning point.
“I think we kind of gotten over the first hurdle,” Thomas said. “Our trip upstate a week ago was big for us. It didn’t turn out so well on the scoreboard, we lost both games, but everything that came out of that trip was positive. I think the kids are really starting to buy into the way I want them to play. We still don’t like to shoot the puck. We dangle a little too much, but we are working on that.”
Rye Town/Harrison took just 15 shots in the win.
The Tigers were flat in the first period, so much so that coach Mike Chiapparelli used a timeout before the first intermission to give his team some needed what for. And while the intensity did pick up, Mamaroneck was unorganized.
“I don’t think we had the proper respect for our opponent,” Chiapparelli said. “We didn’t come prepared to play the game. They’re a very good team and we gave away the first period. It was absolutely horrible. At least we tried in the second and third.”
Of course, Livornese kept getting in the way.
Matt DiCicco knotted the score 15 seconds into the second period, but Brian Jacobs took a Milbauer feed and made it a 2-1 lead for the Titans. Max Picker upped the advantage when he tacked on a power-play goal with 13:32 left in the game.
“It’s a huge win for us, especially after last year,” Bass said. “All we thought about this week was getting blown out by them, so this was revenge for us. Tonight’s win shows how far we’ve come from last year. … We’ve always been the underdog, and we’re fine with that. We know how good we are and we know the potential we have. If we keep working like we did tonight, I think we’re going to go a good way.”