By Mike Dougherty
BREWSTER – It was a long time in coming, and Scarsdale made the most of a historical moment.
Equipment was flying in every direction when the final buzzer sounded. Teammates immediately went looking for somebody to hug in celebration. And once the hardware was in hand, there was all kinds of singing and carrying on in the locker room.
“We just want to keep on playing,” Raiders forward Matt Blakley said.
Scarsdale earned that right with a 4-3 comeback win over Suffern in the Section 1 Division 1 championship game on Sunday at Brewster Ice Arena. It was the first hockey title in school history. James Nicholas scored twice in a hectic third period to end the Mounties’ run of championships at four.
He broke a 3-3 tie with 8:17 to play, unleashing a blur of a wrist shot from the circle.
“I had the same opportunities against Mamaroneck in the semifinals and was shooting the puck 15 feet over the net,” Nicholas said. “I got a new stick, and I guess it worked. … I came down the left side. I threw it on net. I guess I picked the top corner. I don’t remember.”
There was no shortage of tension early on.
Blakley got the scoring started 11 seconds after the first intermission. It was tied up after Kevin Hill finished a power play with some nifty moves. Blakley answered a minute later, but Suffern took control when Justin Tiso scored a pair of goals in the last five-plus minutes of the second period.
The Raiders were not in a good place trailing 3-2.
“We were getting down on ourselves,” defenseman Rob Burns said. “And then we put one in and that got us right back up.”
Nicholas went between the goalie’s legs following a string of setup moves to make it 3-3. There was a plenty of work to be done after he got Scarsdale back in front. Gabe Harousseau had to make a string of timely saves, and the Raiders were diving to help block shots. Tiso appeared to even the score in the last five minutes, but none of the referees or the goal judge saw the puck go in.
Several varsity coaches from Section 1 schools watching at that end of the ice later confirmed the puck came in high and fell inside the goal line.
“I could’ve sworn it hit the bar and went across the line,” said Tiso, who began to celebrate. “I was shocked when I looked up and the play was still going on down. … We’re going to have to deal with it now and it’s tough.”