By Mike Dougherty
WHITE PLAINS — Adam Pesce has already faced nearly 700 shots this season.
That’s a ridiculous workload, but the crafty netminder was born to play this role. As the youngest of three brothers, the Irvington junior cannot recall a time when he wasn’t being peppered with pucks.
At least the shots Pesce is deflecting now come in one at a time.
“I started playing goalie because they wanted to shoot on me for enjoyment,” he said Thursday after Sleepy Hollow/Irvington/Dobbs Ferry suffered an 11-2 loss to White Plains at Ebersole Ice Rink. “I was never planning to be a goalie. I didn’t even know whether I would play hockey or not. They prepared me for this. We’re such a big hockey family, this is part of my life now.”
Pesce leads Section 1 with 570 saves.
It’s been a difficult season for the injury-depleted Legends, who are 1-16-1. When the goalie is putting on a show, they have a chance.
Pesce made 64 saves against Monroe-Woodbury on Dec. 22, and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
“He has to have a good game for us to have a chance,” Legends coach Howie Weiner said. “Absolutely. He is our superstar. If Adam doesn’t play an outstanding game, we’re going to struggle as a team. When he’s on, I can’t imagine anybody being better. I mean, 64 saves on 65 shots. It was the best game for a high school goalie that I’ve ever seen.”
There haven’t been too many like it in the section or state.
And it wasn’t a one-time deal, either. Pesce came up with 59 stops in a loss to Mamaroneck, and 59 more in a loss to Pearl River.
“Getting a lot of shots can be a little frustrating, but it can also be fun,” he said. “I like facing that many shots because I know it makes me a better player. I used to play travel hockey and had games where I saw maybe five shots a game. That’s no fun at all. I’d rather have this.”
It’s unlikely there will be any scars from the constant attention.
Pesce developed more than a thick skin while dealing with the best efforts of brothers Brad, who’s playing club hockey at Vanderbilt, and Brett, a defenseman at New Hampshire who was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes over the summer.
He no longer plays club hockey and is focusing more on lacrosse, so this is mostly for fun.
“I try to stay calm when I get an extreme number of shots because we do try our hardest,” Pesce said. “And there’s nothing more I can ask for.”