After spending a long day wrestling numbers and revising brackets, Section 1 officials finally came to a consensus after dinner.
Scarsdale will defend its Section 1 championship as the top seed in Division I, opening on Sunday against eighth-seeded Rivertown. Suffern, which fell to the Raiders in last year’s final, is the No. 3 seed and Clarkstown is No. 2, so the Rockland County rivals could meet in the semifinals.
They played to a 3-3 tie earlier in the season.
Pawling is going into the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in Division II, and has a bye along with No. 2 seed Mamaroneck. First-round play for the rest of the schools in the bracket gets under way on Monday at the higher seed’s home rink. Pelham, the defending champion in Division II, is seeded sixth and hosts Brewster in the opening round.
Getting the math right was a chore.
The initial brackets placed Mamaroneck, which based on enrollment is a Division II school, in the wrong bracket. It did not take long for a correction to be made there. Nyack/Tappan Zee, which did not have enough points to qualify for the playoffs, was also placed in the Division I bracket.
Ice Hawks co-head coaches Nick DeSantis and Mike Hughes were scrambling, reviewing the math and coming to the same conclusion they reached earlier in the week.
“We didn’t think we had enough points to qualify,” Hughes said. “Some of our guys went away for the break and we hadn’t even practiced since last Friday, but all of the sudden I get an email telling me there’s a game in two days.”
That issue was sorted out by late afternoon. Nyack/Tappan Zee did not have enough points to get in.
A springtime change in the leadership structure that brought hockey in line with other sports under the Section 1 banner and eliminated redundant spending contributed to the very long day.
The departed group included a volunteer, Michael Schoenbach, who tracked all of the required data and updated the numbers daily on an unofficial Section 1 hockey website. He provided former chairman John Orlando with playoff indexes and brackets for the seeding meeting.
Last year, a snowstorm prevented the committee from gathering in Harrison, so the confirmation process was handled via conference call. According to several participants, the call lasted 10 minutes.
The seeding process is complicated with separate formulas to determine postseason eligibility and playoff seeding. Brewster athletic director Dean Berardo and Pawling athletic director John Bellucci are the co-chairmen for hockey and were charged with doing the math and setting the brackets.
A number of mistakes are reported in all sports due to various issues with the process.
It’s been customary to have a small number of coaches representing the various conferences at seeding meetings, but Section 1 decided in the fall that coaches are no longer allowed to attend.
Section 1 hockey tournament
No. 8. Rivertown (6-11-2) vs. No. 1. Scarsdale (19-1)
No. 5. Mahopac (10-8-2) vs. No. 4 White Plains (13-6)
No. 6. New Rochelle (8-9) vs. No. 3. Suffern (14-4-2)
No. 7. North Rockland (7-13) vs. No. 2. Clarkstown (15-4-1)
Tuesday at higher seed
March 1 at Sport-O-Rama, TBA
Monday at higher seed
No. 1. Pawling (14-4-2) bye
No. 9. Carmel (10-8-2) vs. No. 8 Hen Hud (10-8-1)
No. 12. Somers/North Salem (7-12-1) vs. No. 5 Pearl River (10-7)
No. 13. Rye (9-11) vs. No. 4. Rye Town/Harrison (12-6-1)
No. 14. John Jay (5-14-1) vs. No. 3. Yorktown (13-7)
No. 11. Brewster (10-9-1) vs. No. 6. Pelham (10-9-1)
No. 10. Greeley (9-11) vs. No. 7. Mount Pleasant (11-6-1)
No. 2. Mamaroneck (14-4-2) bye
Wednesday at higher seed
Friday at higher seed
March 1 at Sport-O-Rama, TBA