There’s no doubt New Rochelle was emotionally charged. An upset win earlier in the week had landed the Huguenots in a Section 1 semifinal, and they came to play the defending state champions with a busload of enthusiasm.
It simply wasn’t enough.
Suffern knew what to expect, jumped in front early and ran off with an 8-0 win over New Rochelle on Thursday night at Sport-O-Rama in a sectional Division 1 contest. The Mounties came out with perhaps their best period of the season and never let up.
It was a 3-0 game seven minutes in.
“We had a lot of prep time for them,” Suffern defenseman Anthony Carudo said. “We just worked really hard on them, got their game plan and then adapted to it. You always want to jump on the other team first, especially in the playoffs.”
Next up is another showdown with Mamaroneck in the Division 1 final. The longtime rivals will meet at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Brewster Ice Arena.
“It’s going to be one heck of a game,” Mounties forward Kevin Hill said.
Hill got the first goal when he found space in front and waited for John Costa to send a rebound back in from the corner. Tom Brennan added to the lead with a blast from the blue line. And whatever optimism the sixth-seeded Huguenots came in with disappeared when Brennan unleashed a shot from the point that was deflected in by Dan DeMarco.
“In the locker room we were talking about getting the first goal, and as soon as we got that, we rolled from there,” Hill said. “Goals early on are big for us. We’ve been waiting for this game for a while. We were so excited. We just played off the adrenaline in that period and it paid off.”
It was the worst-case scenario for New Rochelle.
Hill scored again before the period ended off a Robert Clark assist to make it 4-0. While the Huguenots do have a history of comebacks, they were not able to escape the neutral zone without company and loose pucks were cleared in a hurry.
“We always pride ourselves in playing our best at the end of the year,” Mounties coach Rob Schelling said. “And the fact is we have everyone back healthy. I thought our best game was in January when we played Pelham and that was the last time we had a full team. It took a little while to get the lines back together the way we want them. We had some good practices and it all came together tonight.”
There was no way for New Rochelle to spark a normally potent offense.
“You know coming in here you have to get a couple of breaks,” Huguenots coach Jim Tozzo said. “It’s tough to play catch-up with that team. They have offensive tools, but you never ever get odd man rushes against them. It’s their strength. Even at 7-0 we weren’t getting odd-man rushes. That’s a credit to Rob and the system they play. That’s why they go far. I’m proud of my kids, though. We played hockey to the end.”