The voice was fading in and out as Brian Schiff finished a postgame conversation.
Knowing that Mamaroneck was going to need a cast of talented underclassmen to make big plays to make another postseason run, the senior defenseman began talking a week ago. He didn’t stop until the final buzzer sounded on a 5-0 win over North Rockland in a Section 1 Division 1 quarterfinal on Sunday night at Sport-O-Rama.
“I shared my postseason experiences,” Schiff said. “I spoke to some of them about what it’s like and have been helping them every step of the way.”
On the bus ride over, there was hardly a peep.
“They didn’t say a word,” said Tigers coach Mike Chiapparelli, whose team plays Scarsdale at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Ice Hutch. “They were all just so ready to play this game.”
Will Kirk sparked Mamaroneck, finishing with a hat trick.
“This was my first sectional game, so that’s pretty cool,” said the Tigers’ sophomore forward, who sat out last season’s run to the finals with a hamstring issue. “I was so jittery at the start. The puck was bouncing off my stick. After the first one went in, I was like, ‘All right, this is just like every other game.’ “
It’s the second year in a row the Red Raiders (14-5-1) have been knocked out by Mamaroneck (9-11-1).
“They played a really good hockey game,” North Rockland coach Gary Dworkowitz said. “The first period was physical; it was fast. A lot of energy was expended. They did a nice job of pressuring the puck, and it’s hard to simulate that in practice.”
All of the bad weather limited the third-seeded Red Raiders to one playoff rehearsal.
Kirk settled a lot of nerves when he turned a 2-on-1 rush into a Tigers lead with three minutes to go in the first period.
“I wasn’t surprised we stayed calm,” Schiff said. “This group has really matured as a team, and we have a lot of confidence right now. It shows. That first goal was big for us. We’re a team that likes to play off momentum.”
Kirk made it 2-0 with 7:43 to go in the second period.
Mamaroneck, which came in with the No. 6 seed, was not rattled by the physical approach. The Tigers often skated through contact and were constantly hustling back on defense and pressuring the puck.
Brian Carducci was making stops and getting help to clear any rebounds.
It was a 3-0 cushion with 3:11 to play when Kirk struck again on the power play, finding the top corner from the right circle. Will Arbo and John Wojciechowski added goals before time expired.