By Mike Dougherty
MONSEY – It’s easy to find Justin Tiso.
Suffern’s top gun is habitually a step ahead everyone on the ice.
Keeping up is the issue.
Tiso jetted in for three goals on Friday, leading the Mounties to a 7-2 win over Pearl River at Sport-O-Rama to lock down a share of the League II-A title.
“Justin is unbelievably fast,” said Pirates forward Kevin Murphy, who’s also difficult to catch. “When he gets the puck in open space, he flies past everyone. Even if you are playing the right angle, it’s hard to stop that kind of speed.”
Clarkstown will also get to hang a league championship banner after skating to a 3-3 tie against Suffern earlier this season.
“Obviously, it means something to us,” Tiso said. “We have goals each season, and winning the league is the first thing on the list. We aren’t happy about sharing it, but we still won the league and we’re moving on from here.”Murphy showed off the quick hands when he got the stick down on a tricky rebound and backhanded the puck into the net with 3:20 gone in the first period. The senior forward immediately turned and stirred up the Pirates faithful.
“It gave us momentum right at the start,” Murphy said. “We did the same thing in the first game against them (a 5-2 loss), but we again had trouble holding the lead.”
Suffern (10-4-2) upped the intensity level in response.
There were a couple of near misses as the Mounties applied pressure. Sean Haggerty made it 1-1 when he turned and found a loose puck in the slot.
“When they scored the first goal, it made us realize they were coming out hard and we had to match that intensity,” Haggerty said.
Tiso gave Suffern a 2-1 lead with 2:22 to go in the first period when he got loose on a breakaway and drove the into the net.
C.J. Greco kept the run intact.
He followed up a Tiso blast on the power play with a tip in to increase the lead, and Troy Daniels forced a Pearl River time out when his blast from the point sailed in with 9:26 to play in the second period.
The Pirates (8-5) were expending a lot of energy in the defensive zone, and each time Murphy or Max McGee took possession of the puck, the Mounties were quick to force them outside where they had fewer options.
“Those two kids are great players,” Mounties coach Rob Schelling said. “On the same line, they are tough to stop, but Sean Gordon played well in goal and our defensemen did a good job containing them as much as possible.”
Tiso added two more goals in the third to help Suffern lock down the win.