BREWSTER – Nothing transforms a locker room like a winning streak.
The kids from Sleepy Hollow, Irvington and Dobbs Ferry know the painful silence all too well. They went 1-18-1 last season. The kids from Ossining know the emotional exhaustion all too well. They went 1-17-1 last season.
Everything changed when the struggling programs merged this fall, creating the Rivertown Legends.
They were unbeaten over the weekend at the season-opening Conference I IceBreaker Tournament at Brewster Ice Arena, capturing their division Sunday with a 5-2 win over Fox Lane.
“It’s actually kind of crazy,” said Adam Pesce, a senior goalie from Irvington. “In my three years on this team, I think I’ve had like four wins, so to start with three wins in a row is amazing. We’re all excited because none of us are used to this feeling. I’m going into every game with so much more intensity, so much more preparation. Last year, I was kind of like, ‘Whatever. We’re going to lose no matter what.’ Now I really have hope.”
So what’s the locker room like now?
Rivertown did not beat any traditional powers here, but there’s no reason to rain on this parade. The Legends went back-and-forth with Brewster on Friday before winning in a shootout and quickly dispatched Lakeland/Panas on Saturday.
“We were a good team before,” Legends coach Howard Weiner said. “We had a tough schedule for a long time, and the kids just needed to get their level of confidence up.”
Nobody is getting carried away.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a winning streak,” Farrell said. “We’re trying to tell everyone not to get overconfident because at any point, this streak could be over, and we’re trying to keep it going.”
There are 15 players from Ossining on the roster, 12 from Irvington, seven from Sleepy Hollow and one from Dobbs Ferry. Rivertown can roll three forward lines and rotate four quality defensemen. There is a taxi squad for less experienced players.
Another benefit of the merger is the ability to afford up to five ice slots a week, which helps an expanded coaching staff develop consistency.
“It’s coming together nicely,” Weiner said. “The merger really makes sense because of the proximity of the schools. We’re all together on the same road, and the kids all knew each other already. I was surprised when we first got together. Building the chemistry has not been tough, and the winning helps.”