RYE – There was a loud ovation in the Rivertown locker room after coach Howie Weiner confirmed that practice would be held on Tuesday at the regular time.
The Legends are not done yet.
Alex Inglis came up with a timely hat trick and Sean Gonder stopped almost everything in sight as Rivertown posted a 4-1 win over New Rochelle in the opening round of the Section 1 Division 1 tournament at Playland Ice Casino.
It was the biggest win in years for the co-op.
“Honestly, for me at least, I thought this would be the last game,” said Inglis, a junior forward who attends Irvington.
The Legends came up well short in two regular-season meetings and were skating without Eric Mendelson, their leading goal scorer who suffered an injury over the weekend playing for his travel squad.
It wasn’t looking good.
The Huguenots applied pressure early and were on the board first when Massimo Miceli scored with 7:39 to go in the first period. Inglis got that one back with 21 seconds to go in the period
Both teams scrapped in the second, and good looks were hard to come by.
Inglis got loose along the boards in the opening minutes of the third period and got Rivertown in front.
“I skated it out and the puck started to drift, so I chipped it off the boards and went around another guy,” he said. “I squeezed along the boards and got slowed down so I threw it behind the net, got it back and saw one guy to beat. I went right and backhanded it five hole. I didn’t even see it go in so I don’t want to take too much credit.”
Inglis and Kevin Kern each tacked on an empty-net goal and Gonder made 10 saves in tense third period.
“We had some tough losses in our previous meetings with them,” the Ossining senior said. “I knew in this one I had to play well. The whole team rose up to the occasion and we played well.
“My heart was beating, beating, beating at the end. What are you going to do? You just have to save pucks and get a win for your team.”
Player of the game: Nobody was under more pressure to have a good game under these circumstances than Gonder, who finished with 30 saves.
“He’s freakin’ awesome,” Inglis said.
Turning point: New Rochelle was out-working the Legends early and put a dozen shots on Gonder in the first, but only the one went in.
“Sean is a leader and if he shuts the door early it gives our team a whole lot of confidence,” Weiner said. “We’re a late-coming team. We usually play better in the second and third periods, so to go into the intermission 1-1, we were happy with that.”
Stat line: Arthur Liebowitz finished with 18 saves for the No. 9 seeded Huguenots. … There were just four penalties called. … Kern also set up Inglis’ final goal after missing wide from the blue line.
Quotable: “I’d say it’s pretty good timing,” Inglis said of the hat trick. “It’s the playoffs.”