Before we get too deep into the Section 1 tournament I think we should give credit to the points system that was put into play this season that determined playoff eligibility. Sure, the system could be slightly improved by including games against out-of-state opponents, but only the programs that deserve an opportunity to play in the postseason are here.
So here is my look at the Division 1 bracket. I’ll post Division 2 tomorrow before I go out.
Play in game
No. 8 New Rochelle (9-9) vs. No. 9 Lakeland/Panas (5-13-1), 3:30 p.m. at Ice Hutch
Players to watch: Huguenots – Kenny McLean (19G 18A), Andre Vigroux (11G); Rebels – Jack Amodeo (17G 10A), Angelo Catalfamo (13G).
Outlook: It’s been a rebuilding year in every sense for both programs, so a playoff appearance will be a great experience for the underclassmen. Lakeland/Panas will be on the ice for the first time since former assistant coach Frank Celentano died a week ago. New Rochelle probably has to score five goals to win, and has only done that five times all season.
Prediction: New Rochelle 6, Lakeland/Panas 4.
No. 1 Suffern (16-3-1) vs. New Rochelle or Lakeland/Panas
Players to watch: Mounties – Kevin Hill (26G 28A), Nick Modica (1.6 GAA), Justin Tiso (17G, 10A), Tom Brennan (10G, 16A).
Outlook: Suffern is going for a fifth straight championship and will be looking to grab control in the first eight minutes of play. The speed of Hill and Tiso will undoubtedly land Lakeland/Panas or New Rochelle in the penalty box.
Prediction: Suffern 9, New Rochelle or Lakeland/Panas 0.
No. 4 White Plains (14-5-1) vs. No. 5 Clarkstown (11-8), 8 p.m. at Brewster Ice Arena
Players to watch: Mall Rats – Steve Marvin (11G 16A), Nick Sassano (11G), Maurice Murphy (10A); Tigers – Chris Stangarone (1.96 GAA), Phil Variano (30G 19A), Chris Medeot (10A), Matt Conroy (14G 20A).
Outlook: Grinders are going to love this game. White Plains lost some momentum late in the season but has only given up 39 goals this season and seems to be in every big game. It’s going to be important for the Tigers to create more scoring opportunities. Clarkstown is an underrated defensive team with more depth than most playoff teams. Scoring has been an issue all season, and it will not be easy to finish with greater efficiency against Stangarone & Co.
Prediction: White Plains 4, Clarkstown 2.
No. 2 Scarsdale (17-3) vs. No. 7 Mahopac (9-9-2), 1:30 p.m. at Ice Hutch
Players to watch: Raiders – Devon Schell (38G 22A), James Nicholas (31G 46A), Matt Blakely (18G 33A), Rob Burns (10A); Indians – Tommy Krincic (23G 15A), Rob Buckley (12G 12A), Tommy Gilmore (2.25 GAA).
Outlook: Mahopac limped home, but those games against John Jay, Mamaroneck, Rye and Suffern helped them get up to speed for this one. It’s going to be important to get scoring from somebody other than Krincic and limit turnovers because Scarsdale turns most of them into odd-man rushes. The Raiders are going to be dealing with unfamiliar pressure and would be smart to get in front early.
Prediction: Scarsdale 6, Mahopac 2.
No. 3 North Rockland (14-4-1) vs. No. 6 Mamaroneck (8-11-1), 6:50 p.m. at Sport-O-Rama
Players to watch: Red Raiders – Danny Moore (15G 28A), Mark McElroy (19G 8A), Tim Hekker (19A), Anthony DePinto (2.27 GAA); Tigers – Brian Schiff (22A), John Wojciechowski (9G), Jason Bienstock.
Outlook: North Rockland has only given up 44 goals this season, and scoring is the one issue that’s held Mamaroneck back. The return of Bienstock from a broken collarbone is helping. And the tie with Suffern provided a needed confidence boost. The Red Raiders are going to want to play with a lead and make a team dominated by underclassmen nervous.
Prediction: Mamaroneck 3, North Rockland 2
Definitely, leave a prediction if you want to go on the record. I’ll be at the North Rockland-Mamaroneck game and we’ll have plenty of game coverage on the blog, starting late tomorrow.