By Mike Dougherty
BREWSTER — The lingering effects of a long winter’s nap lasted well into the second period, but White Plains did eventually come to life.
Phil Variano and Mike Lotito finally gave the Tigers some needed adrenaline when they converted on the power play within three minutes of each other, sparking a decisive 4-1 win over Mahopac on Sunday night at Brewster Ice Arena.
“We had a long layoff this holiday,” senior defenseman Chris Medeot said. “We skated, I think, twice. Maybe it was (us needing to) shake off the nerves, but we came out in the second a completely different team and worked hard.”
It was the first game for White Plains since an overtime loss to Mamaroneck on Dec. 19.
“We just needed to get back up to speed,” said Variano, who’s provided a spark for his team all season with a team-leading 16 goals.
The Indians (4-5) were quicker to the puck in the early going, and were close to dominant the last five minutes of the first, outshooting White Plains by an 11-3 margin. Chris Stangarone was busy in goal and sent Mahopac into the intermission a little frustrated.
“I thought we played a great first period,” Mahopac head coach Chris Lombardo said. “It was probably the best period we’ve played all year. We had some good chances, but they have a strong goalie in Stangarone and we just couldn’t get one.”
The Tigers (7-1) were a lot more determined when they got back on the ice, and began to apply pressure. A cross-checking penalty against the Indians led to Variano’s goal with 7:31 to go in the second.
“Matt Conroy dished it to me, and Mike Carrier was in on the play, too,” Variano said. “I had a wide-open net and I buried it. … Me and Mike and Matt have been playing together since we were little. … We all have older brothers who played for White Plains.”
Four minutes later, a high-sticking penalty led to Lotito’s score.
The Indians twice had 5-on-3 chances and came up empty.
It remained a 2-0 lead until White Plains’ Anthony DeMaria scored on a breakaway with 3:41 to go. Conroy latched onto a turnover and threw in a short-handed, empty-net goal after Mahopac had pulled its goalie, looking for a spark.
Tommy Krincic ended the shutout in the final two minutes with a power-play blast from the point.