WHITE PLAINS – Getting on the short list took some doing.
Clarkstown ranked among the best teams in Section 1 last season, and is now working to maintain the momentum.
Staying in contention is the goal.
“And that is the hard part for every program,” Clarkstown head coach Rich Willows said. “A few years ago, when I started getting a third and fourth line in there, it brought up the younger players. They get their time in and get some experience. It’s helping us to be competitive with the top teams and sustain the higher level.”
There are some holes to fill and questions to answer.
Clarkstown was in stride Friday, opening the season with an 8-0 win over Stepinac in the Guy Mathews Thanksgiving Invitational at Ebersole Ice Rink.
It wasn’t much of a test.
“Keeping it going is hard to do,” said Clarkstown forward Adam Marvin, who was a big part of last season’s 15-6-1 showing. “There is some good talent in the section, but we’re pushing to be a top team. Hopefully, in the games to come we’ll get better and better.”
Finding motivation is easy.
Clarkstown very much wants to be on the same level as Suffern, which has dominated the competition in Rockland County for decades.
“Suffern is a powerhouse, always has been,” Willows said. “They put a lot of effort into starting the kids at a young age and keeping them together. It’s a big part of community. It’s tough for anyone to sustain any kind of competition against them, but we’re doing it. I’d like to get our younger guys more involved, playing as a team like they do, but it’s tough.”
The rivals skated to a 3-3 tie last December. Later in the season Suffern came up with a 2-1 win over Clarkstown in a Section 1 semifinal.
“Showing we could stay with them was good for us,” Marvin said. “We talk about that. It’s our biggest game every year. After last season, we really want to come back strong and beat them.”
Player of the game: Marvin. The senior forward got to show off some moves in the open ice, scoring a pair of short-handed goals in the third period to complete a hat trick. He also had one assist.
Turning point: Stepinac was battling in the opening minutes, but did not survive a four-minute stretch late in the first period. Harrison Levy, Riku Robins and Dean Baumann all scored to give Clarkstown a 3-0 lead.
Stat line: Luke Myers had a goal and two assists. … Tim Cavanagh made 19 saves to earn the shutout. … Clarkstown outshot the Crusaders 32-19. … Levy got his first varsity goal on a penalty shot to open the scoring.
Quotable: “That was what we were looking for,” Marvin said. “We got the shutout and put in eight goals. We couldn’t have asked for anything better to start the season.”