The second time around, it wasn’t even close.
After losing to Mahopac by a goal in the regular season, Mamaroneck came out with an edge and simply ran away, posting a 10-0 statement win in a Section 1 Class A quarterfinal between last year’s finalists.
It’s pretty obvious what happened in between.
“One team got better and the other didn’t,” said Indians coach Mike Haddeland, whose team was rattled early and frustrated late.
The Tigers really worked hard to keep that zero on the scoreboard.
“It means a lot,” said Mamaroneck goalie Thomas Brill, who made 17 saves to earn the shutout. “The coaches did a really good job of helping us prepare. We watched tons of film, went through scouting reports and really knew what was coming. The guys played great, and that helps a lot.”
The long poles — Alex Lanni, Max Ellis, Nick Charla, Alex Roth — were far more active than any of the Indians up front.
Reed Malas got it started in the first minute for the No. 3 Tigers (11-6).
“It was huge,” he said of the goal. “The last time we played, their goalie (Brandon Crecco) got hot, so getting that one at the very beginning was big and we carried the momentum the rest of the game.”
Malas set up Justin Csenge with five minutes to go in the first to make it a 2-0 lead, then Peter Conley came up with a ground ball in traffic right off the faceoff and fed Scott Greenberg. Malas then upped the advantage to 4-0 with three minutes to play in the quarter.
The deficit weighed heavily on sixth-seeded Mahopac (9-9).
“We’ve been struggling with consistency all season, and with guys chirping at each other,” Haddeland said. “I guess the wheels fell off at the wrong time.”
Malas led Mamaroneck with three goals in his first game back from an extended layoff due to an injury.
“In the first game (against them) Reed was able to beat his man, but we really didn’t get him the ball enough,” said Conley, who had two goals and one assist. “We knew Reed was going to have a matchup he could exploit and he did.”
Greenberg added two goals and two assists.
The Tigers will face Lakeland/Panas or Arlington in a Class A semifinal on Tuesday, and they’ve been down this road before. When they won the championship a year ago, they were coming off an up-and-down regular season, getting a key player back in the lineup and riding a hot goalie.
Why mess with a winning formula?
“It kind of fuels us,” Greenberg said. “We’ve been looking for that key win all season. We’ve had a few challenges and come up short. We lost by one to Bronxville. We lost by one to Mahopac. We had a good season, but we really didn’t have that key win, so it was great to come out here and prove ourselves, and 10-0 was huge for us.”