Before I get in the car and head for home …
We heard some grumbling about Ithaca goalie Brandon Kasel, who only played 130 minutes for the Little Red this season because of a hectic schedule with an 18u junior team in Rochester. It’s not the first time an impact player who spent more time playing travel hockey than high school hockey factored into the outcome in Utica.
State rules allow individuals who are eligible and present for six regular-season games to participate in the NYSPHSAA tournament, but it was definitely worth asking Scarsdale coach Jim Mancuso about the practice.
“We knew we were going to get (Kasel),” he said. “The idea was to put shots low on him so we could get a rebound because he’s really good on that first shot. We just didn’t get enough low shots to get the rebound and when we did we didn’t have anyone high enough in the slot to do something with it.
“Do I have a problem with that? Yeah, I have a problem with that. He doesn’t do that on my team. I have a problem with that kind of stuff. It doesn’t go on my team. It’s not fair. I can’t look in the face of a kid who played his heart out to get us here and then tell him, ‘You’re not going to play now. He’s coming back so you just sit out.’ I couldn’t do that to him.”
I certainly do not have the answer on this one. Do we really want to be like Connecticut and make the kids choose between club and high school hockey? And if you change the rule to read 10 games, kids who suffer an injury and miss part of the season could be left out.
There needs to be some debate on that one.
“He played six games,” James Nicholas said. “That’s the state rule, so I guess he didn’t break the rule. If he lives in Ithaca and goes to school there, he should be on the team.”
Of course, when you have a free pass to Utica like Ithaca did this season, you can play a multitude of lineups knowing that you are going deep into the postseason regardless of record. And that is why I’m hearing the state’s hockey committee at least entertained the idea of putting wildcards back into the NYSPHSAA tourney when it met on Friday. I have to get more details on that one.
It’s worth noting the ice conditions at The Aud this year were not very good. And that’s something that clearly affected both teams. The ice was soft, and the officials had to break out squeegees after each cut to remove puddles. We had some odd bounces and players from each team went down. I don’t believe it affected the score, but we don’t need a team getting sent home from states because of a strange hop or a slip.