By Mike Dougherty
LARCHMONT – Ben Hurd was caught up in the drama.
The unflappable forward lifted Pelham to a 3-2 victory Friday at Hommocks Park Ice Rink with an unlikely short-handed goal against Mamaroneck with 1:10 to go in overtime, sending the reigning Division II champions back to the Section 1 final. Instead of scrambling to prolong the season, the Pelicans were piling up against the boards, celebrating.
It was a crazy scene.
“The kid is money,” Ed Witz said after picking up his 400th win.
Hurd, who pounced on the puck following a faceoff in the neutral zone, passed to Hogan Peters and quickly set up in open space.
“We were all just hoping to kill off the penalty,” Hurd said. “We were looking to go into double-overtime, but Hogan made a great play. We came down 2 on 1 and I saw an opening. It was crazy. What a night.”
The Tigers were absolutely gob smacked. A number of players lingered on the bench some 15 minutes after the game-winner sailed in.
Peters saw it coming.
“Lucas somehow found me out in front and I was looking at open net,” Peters said. “I knew they were rattled after that one just by the looks on their faces. I knew if we could get into overtime, get some pressure on them and get a lucky break, it was our game to win.”
The intensity level was full blast in opening minutes.
It was difficult to maintain control of the puck, but each squad was able to grind out scoring chances. Peters got the sixth-seeded Pelicans (13-9-1) in front when he located and buried a rebound on the doorstep with 5:10 to play in the first. Will Arbo found the top corner in transition with 10:28 to play in the second to make it 1-1, and Will Kirk scored on a clean breakaway with 11:42 to go in the third.
Tommy Spero was under constant pressure in the final minutes, but he kept second-seeded Mamaroneck (14-7-1) in front until Gabow and Peters got loose, making 32 saves. Instead of dumping the puck in and killing time, the Tigers went looking to score one more in the final minute, and it proved costly.
Pelham gets an underdog, Rye Town/Harrison, in the 1 p.m. championship Sunday at Sport-O-Rama.
“Coming into the game, we felt like this was for the championship, but we can’t anymore,” Hurd said. “We have to get one more win or we’re not going anywhere. We’re looking forward to the next one.”
Rye Town/Harrison 3, Hen Hud 1: In a Section 1 Division II semifinal at Playland Ice Casino, Max Picker and Jackson Schultz returned from a one-game suspension and scored first-period goals for the Titans. Both were part of a first-round scuffle against Rye. Evan Leshman added a second-period goal for RTH. Tyler Schunk had the Sailors goal.