MONSEY – Not long after the postgame handshakes, James Morina was ready to do some high-tech chirping.
North Rockland’s speedy forward had earned the right.
Morina scored a pair of breakaway goals to help the Red Raiders pull away from Pearl River on Saturday, beating Pirates goalie Sam Coughlin both times. Over the years, they’ve logged countless minutes on the same side.
“He’ll be getting a few text messages,” Morina said after the 5-1 win at Sport-O-Rama.
North Rockland’s Nick Morina is stopped by Pearl River goalie Sam Coughlin during their game at Sport-O-Rama Dec. 6, 2014.
Morina left the defense behind two minutes into the second period and snapped a 1-1 tie when he slipped the puck between Coughlin’s legs.
“It was a great breakout,” Morina said. “The puck came right to me and Sam left his five-hole wide-open.
“We’ve been playing together on travel (teams) since we were little: Pee Wee, Squirts and then over here with the Saints. I knew the whole time where I was going.”
The score momentarily deflated the Pirates.
Pearl River (0-1) was playing without its top two players, Kevin Murphy and Max Murphy, but was scrappy from the start. Coughlin made 15 saves in the first period. The only shot that got by him went off the skate of North Rockland’s Jack Guerra.
“It gave us a spark and changed our emotions,” the freshman said of his first varsity goal.
Owen McGee evened the score with 1.4 seconds to go in the first when his power-play blast sailed past North Rockland netminder Kenny Hoppe, who was screened by a teammate.
The Red Raiders (1-2) upped the intensity when they came out for the second period.
“We just kind of played our game,” defenseman Nico Zodda said. “We kept our heads. We pick and choose our spots now. We’re still hitting like we did last year, but we’re being a little smarter about it.”
Morina provided the jump-start with his breakaway. The North Rockland run continued when Bryan Jensen, another freshman, banged the puck in off the post with 8:56 to go in the second.
“It’s a bigger challenge playing with the older guys,” he said. “It’s a big jump going from modified up to varsity, but I just have to do what I can do and play my best. I think the next few years are going to be great if we keep playing our game and doing what we’re doing.”
The Red Raiders’ scoring depth is pretty impressive.
Morina upped the lead to 4-1 on a short-handed break in the opening minutes of the third, and Jeff Cool punctuated the run of unanswered goals with four minutes to play.
Best of the rest:Ben Hurd scored twice for Pelham in a 3-2 win over Ithaca. Gib Smith also netted a goal for the Pelicans, and Tim Reilly had two assists. … Reed Stark broke a tie with his third-period goal, and Justin Tiso added one more to give Suffern a 4-2 win over Massena in the consolation game of the West Genesee tournament. CJ Greco and Michael Redgate also scored for the Mounties.