By Mike Dougherty
WEST NYACK — There are usually a couple of teams logical opponents would rather avoid in the playoffs, and Clarkstown is on that list.
It’s kind of a compliment.
Several times over the course of the hockey season, Clarkstown has let momentum slip away. The players struggled to maintain a consistent approach from game to game, and the standings reflect that issue. Clarkstown is lurking in the middle of the pack.
There are no regrets, though.
“We think some of teams could be intimidated by the way that we are playing,” senior defenseman Maurice Murphy said. “They don’t want to lose.
“I take it as a sign of respect.”
When the brackets for the Section 1 tournament come out later this week, Clarkstown is likely going to end up with the No. 5 or No. 6 seed. That puts the 11-7 squad on the road with a difficult matchup against the likes of White Plains or North Rockland.
It’s not a situation that is causing a lot of concern.
“We’re really looking forward to the playoffs,” senior forward Steven Marvin said after he scored a hat trick Monday in a 14-4 win over Nyack/Tappan Zee at Palidades Center Ice Rink. “We think we’re going to play well because we’re coming on strong.
“Earlier in the season, we got complacent. We thought certain games were going to be easier than they were. It’s something we are working hard on.”
Clarkstown might be the deepest team in the playoffs.
“This year we have four solid lines,” Murphy said. “I think it benefits us because we can run other teams into the dirt.”
When the season began, Clarkstown had a hard time scoring. There is no marquee finisher, so the attack is balanced. Goaltending was a concern, too. Tim Cavanagh settled in quickly and is giving up just 2.4 goals per game.
“He’s a freshman goalie, so it’s crazy that he starts,” Marvin said. “He’s been unreal since the first game. Of course, he was a little shaky in that one, since he is a freshman, but he’s gotten better as the games have gone on.”
The goal after Wednesday’s regular-season finale against Morristown Beard (N.J.) is to play consistent hockey for three periods as long as the season continues.
“That’s kind of been the story all year long; we have some blips where we are inconsistent and that’s something we’re trying to work on,” said Clarkstown assistant Pete Sherlock, who was filling in Monday for ailing head coach Rich Willows. “We do have the depth, so we are trying to cut down on the mistakes we are making.”