It’s never a good sign when the visiting team hears strains of “Hey, hey, goodbye” from the crowd.
Worse still is when it occurs in the first period.
But after giving up five first-period goals to Mamaroneck — three on power plays and one on a breakaway — at least the Lakeland/Panas Rebels hung tough for a time Thursday at Hommocks Park Ice Rink.
In the end, though, it was the host Tigers who out-powered, outnumbered and outplayed their way to a 9-5 win and the right to face top-seeded Suffern in the Section 1 Division 1 final on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at Brewster Ice Arena.
Mamaroneck’s Trey Herlitz-Ferguson, Robert Morris and Peter Conley each scored two goals. The Rebels’ Conner Bubolo had a hat trick.
Mamaroneck, the No. 3 seed that entered the game here at Hommocks Park Ice Rink at 15-7, blanked No. 14 North Rockland 3-0 and crushed No. 6 Rye Town/Harrison 9-0 to reach the semis.
In fact, the Tigers’ goalie, Tom Brill, had yielded just seven goals in his last six games and had made 33 saves in both prior playoff games.
“He gets up at the big time of the year,” Mamaroneck coach Mike Chiaparelli said of the senior.
Mamaroneck’s game plan was simple: “We’re going to try to exhaust them,” Chiaparelli explained before the game.
It was a matter of simple mathematics — the Tigers having 23 skaters to the Rebels’ 12.
“We’re a lot deeper. We’re going to push the pace and be physical,” Chiaparelli said.
Lakeland/Panas, seeded seventh, advanced by virtue of the Harlem Shake-caused forfeit over No. 10 Nyack/Tappan Zee and a 7-4 upset of No. 2 Somers/North Salem.
The Ice Hawks were forced to forfeit after a YouTube video surfaced featuring about 11 Nyack and Tappan Zee high school students involved in a racy dance number set to the song “Harlem Shake.” The video featured a number of male students in various stages of undress; several of the students wear little clothing and one, only a strategically placed sock.
Rebels coach Bart Mucci was looking for a reprise Thursday of his 2010 squad’s upset win on Mamaroneck ice, “The Jungle” as Hommocks is called.
That was before any of his current players were on varsity and was when the Rebels had a 22-man roster.
“It’s been our issue all year,” Mucci said of being outnumbered. “But everyone plays their heart out every night.”
That was evident in the win over Somers/North Salem, the squad’s first game without starting goalie Brandon Vazquez and his 90-plus-percent save average.
With Vazquez suspended from school, Jim Rathschmidt, a freshman on the school’s modified team, stepped in and stopped 26 shots.
Mucci message to Rathschmidt then and Thursday was, “Do the best you can, have fun and whatever happens, happens.” His message to the rest of his other players was block shots, which they did against Somers/North Salem.
“It was a very big upset,” Rathschmidt said. “I think it really helped us. It showed we can basically beat any team we want.”