Connor Hatch was a little angry when he set up in front looking for a second chance.
He was stopped on a breakaway just seconds earlier, but the senior forward snapped a third-period tie when a rebound took a friendly bounce. Hatch lifted the puck past Michael Ciofalo with six minutes to play and propelled Rye to a 5-2 win over Hen Hud on Monday in a Section 1 Division 2 opening-round game at Brewster Ice Arena.
“I was never really nervous,” Hatch said. “I was frustrated that we couldn’t get one in. … The game plan there was to put me in front, throw some pucks on net and hopefully bang one in.”
Jack O’Brien tacked on some insurance a short time later.
It was an upset of sorts. The Garnets were inconsistent during the regular season, trying a number of line combinations before settling on the current rotation two weeks ago. Closing with an upset win over John Jay in a rematch of last year’s Division 2 championship game did a world of good, too.
Rye came into the playoffs with the No. 10 seed, but improved to 10-9-1 with the win over Hen Hud and moved on to the quarterfinals to face Pearl River on Wednesday.
The handiwork of Ciofalo demanded special attention.
Rye was undoubtedly muttering some bad words after two periods. The Garnets were in complete control, but the junior goalie was keeping them off the board.
He finished with 27 saves, most of them very timely.
“It seemed like a lot more than that,” Rye coach Jason Friesen said.
The seventh-seeded Sailors went up 2-1 when Vinny Perez netted a power play goal late in the second period. Connor McGovern came back with the equalizer, scoring with 1:06 to play in the period and inspiring a collective sigh of relief.
“We outplayed them,” McGovern said. “We had so many opportunities. We knew that one of them had to go in and it was just a matter of time.”