By Mike Dougherty
RYE – After he got a chance to exhale and reflect, Lucas Gabow quietly admitted to getting caught up in a big moment.
All is forgiven.
Dumping the puck was the last thing on Gabow’s mind when he came speeding into the zone. The initial shot was blocked, so the senior defenseman gave chase and threw in the rebound, sparking a 4-1 win over Rye on Wednesday at Playland Ice Casino.
A sizeable crowd did indeed go wild.
“That was the best experience,” Gabow said of the annual rivalry game. “It was so much fun with all those fans. And then, getting a goal, that was great.”
For several minutes before the goal, the Garnets were in control.
“We were playing well and getting chances,” Rye coach Peter Thomas said. “The first goal was a bit deflating, but the real tough one was the second goal a minute or so later. We had a hard time coming back from that one.”
Some of the momentum slipped away when the Pelicans took a string of penalties early in the second period.
The Garnets were swarming on the power play, and were in a good place when they wound up with an extended 5-on-3 opportunity. Pelham goalie A.J. Gugliara was busy for a solid minute, and not a single puck got by him.
Each near miss drew a groan from the hovering Rye student section.
“We took some bad penalties and it was killing us,” Gugliara said. “I just had to keep on playing, and concentrate on making the first save because I know somebody is going to be there for us to clear it out.”
Coming away without a goal was more than a little frustrating.
“We did everything but score,” Thomas said.
Hogan Peters extended the lead to 3-0 shortly after Pelham (9-8-1) came up big on the penalty kill with a pinpoint wrister.
“You have to score 5-on-3,” Gabow said. “When they didn’t, it gave us the biggest boost.”
Theo Bresolin finally got Rye (8-10) on the board when he followed up a Will Hynson blast with 5:27 to go in the second. While the Garnets were able to apply some pressure, Gugliara was not letting them back in the game.
He finished with 22 saves.
And when the Pelicans hit the ice for the third period, they were in lockdown mode. Coming back against this team is always problematic.
“We went right into defensive mode,” Pelham coach Ed Witz said. “If we have a one-goal or two-goal lead, I’m going right to it, and the system has served us well.”
Ben Hurd squelched any thoughts of a late comeback when he set up backside and calmly deposited a pass from Peters in the final minutes.