By Mike Dougherty
RYE – There was very little celebration after Scarsdale reached the halfway point of the season with a perfect record.
Raiders coach Jim Mancuso walked into the locker room and reset the mood. There were far too many issues during a 9-4 win over Rye Town/Harrison on Monday at Playland Ice Casino to inspire any level of comfort.
“We’re supposed to be improving,” Mancuso said. “We had the same take-a-period-off syndrome that’s been a problem before. They scored three times against us in the second.”
Scarsdale (10-0) has never enjoyed this kind of start.
“We have some big games coming up this week against White Plains and Clarkstown,” said James Nicholas, who finished with three goals and four assists. “Going undefeated is always in the back of your mind, but since we got back from break there hasn’t been one good practice, there hasn’t been one good game. … Being the No. 1-ranked team in the state is hard. Every team upstate is working hard to beat us.”
The Titans (7-3) came in with a five-game winning streak. Joey Livornese had posted four consecutive shutouts, but Nicholas took a pass from Devon Schell and beat the Rye Town/Harrison goalie to the post three minutes in to end that run.
Scarsdale maintained pressure shift to shift. A couple of impressive saves kept them from taking a commanding lead. Joe Juliano converted the one time the Titans were able to keep the puck in deep, and there was some real tension for the next several minutes.
The game turned on a single miscue. Livornese came up with an easy save and was looking to push the puck straight ahead to a teammate. Nicholas came around the defenseman in a hurry and promptly scored. The leading scorer in Section 1 set up Anton Zock seconds later to make it a 3-1 lead at the intermission.
There was plenty more offense where that came from. David Muller unleashed a blast from the point 16 seconds into the second period that flew into the net, and Zock made it 5-1 a short time later. Doug Harrison and Evan Leshman got those back for RTH, but the Titans lost momentum when they surrendered power-play goals to Brandon Bank and Stephen Nicholas. It was an 8-3 game after Zock completed a hat trick.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Zock, who played goalie until this season. “It’s a whole different game, a whole different mindset. It’s a great feeling to help this team out in a different way.”
Juliano got one more for Rye Town/Harrison before heading to the locker room for the second intermission. James Nicholas had the lone third-period goal.