(Last night’s game ended on deadline, so this is an updated version of the story that ran in The Journal News).
By Nancy Haggerty
MONSEY - Don’t ask Jim Mancuso to pick any Lotto numbers for you.
The Scarsdale coach went into Friday night’s game against Suffern singing the Mounties’ praises.
“They play good defense. They have great depth. They play so well together. Just when you think you’re by them and have them beaten they put the knife in,” Mancuso said.
But Friday night belonged to the underdog.
After squandering a two-goal lead, Scarsdale did what once was unthinkable, beating the Mounties on their home ice at Sport-O-Rama 3-2 in overtime.
Junior Devon Schell scored his second goal of the game with just 17.5 seconds left in the OT, ending the end-to-end, high-octane fun. The goal came right as Suffern’s breakout was stopped at the blue line by Michael Roberts, who then found Schell and senior Matt Blakley totally alone on goalie Nick Modica’s doorstep.
Blakley, who scored Suffern’s first goal of the game, shuffled the puck across to Schell for the game-winner.
“I think this was one of the best, if not the best, game I have been a part of while playing for Scarsdale,” Schell said. “Our first and second line played consistently and our team was able to kill off, I think nine of our 10 penalties. Gabe Harrousseau, our goalie for tonight, played his heart out. He was fantastic and this was probably the best game I have ever seen him play. Our defense also stood on its head and kept Suffern away from our net for most of the game.
“I was really proud of Will Boch, the only freshman who consistently played tonight. He came in to the year and took on the minutes of a starting defenseman immediately and tonight all of his hard work payed off. I believe we won mostly due to our leadership tonight as well as the hard work that all of our players put in.”
Suffern had not lost to a Section 1 opponent at Sport-O-Rama since falling to White Plains on Feb. 11, 2011.
Until the final sequence, the game had been a battle between Modica, who finished with 25 saves, and Harousseau, who had 29.
“Their goalie played excellent,” Suffern coach Rob Schelling said. “We had good opportunities. We usually bury those chances.”
Scarsdale (13-3) jumped out to a 1-0 first-period lead on Blakley’s high wrister. The Raiders doubled that with 1:30 left in the second period on Schell’s deflection.
But Suffern (13-3) came on strong from there and cashed in on its fourth power play when senior Tom Brennan found the back of the net with 33.2 seconds left in the period. Until that point, Harousseau, who’d won the honor of facing the Mounties with good practices earlier in the week, had been a stone wall.
Suffern thought it had tied the game 1-1 with 29.7 seconds left in the first period on a rebound chance after two fine Harousseau saves – one a spectacular behind-the-back denial. But the goal was disallowed because a Mountie was in the net. But Harousseau had no such luck as Suffern tied the game early in the third on Justin Tiso’s breakaway goal.
Others came close but the respective netminders stood tall. Harousseau made a full-extension right pad save on Hill, found a Brennan shot through traffic with a minute left in the third period and stopped a wrap-around try and follow in the closing seconds of regulation.
Modica stopped a hard Schell wrist shot, made a consecutive saves in tight with three-plus minutes left in the third and got an assist from the crossbar on a James Nicholas shot with 59 seconds left in overtime.
Schelling noted the game-winner came after an odd backward carom off the glass on his squad’s breakout attempt. Despite the loss, he praised Modica, remarking, “He’s incredible. He keeps us in so much.”