There might’ve been a moment of doubt after Rye gave up a couple of quick goals in a game that was circled long before the season got under way, but it never showed.
Michael Benincasa jump-started the Garnets, who came back with three goals in the last five minutes of the second period on Friday and skated off with a 4-2 win over Mamaroneck at Hommocks Park Ice Rink.
“None of the guys on this team have ever won a game against them, so we didn’t want to lose,” Rye defenseman Max Bresolin said. “When the schedule first came out, we noticed this game was going to be here on a Friday night, so this is great.”
The slumping Tigers had won three in a row against Rye.
Mamaroneck (3-4) came in with a three-game losing streak in tow, but finally had a full roster. Very few mistakes were made early on, and Robert Morris finally gave the home crowd something to cheer about when he roofed a wrist shot from the right circle with 9:48 to go in the second period.
Trey Herlitz-Ferguson gave the Tigers a 2-0 edge a minute later when he finished in transition.
Knowing the Garnets had not been tested in three prior games, head coach Jason Friesen was anxious to see the response. There was an initial loss of intensity, but Benincasa curled from left to right before unleashing a perimeter shot into an empty corner of the net.
“It got us fired up again,” Bresolin said. “We knew once the first one went in, the goals would keep on coming.”
There was certainly more where that came from.
“I saw a better example of what I think this team has with that bounce back,” Friesen said. “I saw a lot of fight and persistence. The kids really had to grind this one out.”
Rye defenseman Jason Chin hustled a puck into the zone in the final minute of the second and held the puck just long enough for Cal Hynson to sneak in and set up.
And suddenly it was a 2-2 game.
“I smacked that one in,” Hynson said. “I really don’t know what happened to us there, I think we just came together and made more of a team effort. I knew Jason was going to make the right pass, so I went back door and waited for the puck.”
Mamaroneck lost steam in a hurry, and then made a critical mistake.
Connor McGovern was gone in a hurry with a loose puck and scored a breakaway goal with 11 seconds to go in the period, giving the Garnets a 3-2 lead.
“It looked like we were a little out of shape,” Tigers coach Mike Chiapparelli said.
Rye goalie Aiden Talgo made 31 saves, including a couple of classics in an intense third period. He wasn’t able to control every rebound, though. Mamaroneck has only scored five goals during the slide and was unable to capitalize on a number of late scoring chances. Jack O’Brien threw the last goal into an empty net in the last minute.
“It looks like it’s just pace,” Chiapparelli said. “We’re not able to finish when it’s all helter skelter lately.”