We’ve had a few upsets along the way, and we have a number of very familiar rivals going head to head in the semifinals.
This could get very interesting.
As for our coverage plans, we are only able to do two games. I’m a biased member of the media in this situation, but I think it’s silly for Section 1 to play all of the semifinals on the same night. There is enough time for the games to be played over 10 days instead of a week. If we’re going to get them all in one serving, play the Division 1 games at BIA and the Division 2 games at Sport-O-Rama.
I’ll be watching Suffern and North Rockland so you can follow me @lohudhockey for the updates. Nancy Haggerty will be covering Pelham and Rye so you can follow her @HaggertyNancy for updates. Keep us posted if you’re at the other games.
Here’s my take on the semifinals …
No. 1 Mamaroneck (19-2) vs. No. 4 Scarsdale (10-9-2)
Hommocks Park Ice Rink
Scouting report: In two previous meetings, there were not a lot of goals scored. There are no secrets here. Mamaroneck won both of those contests, 2-0 at home and 3-2 on the road. Scarsdale goalie Sam Seltzer is coming off a 30-save game and seems to enjoy the big moments. Tigers netminder Tommy Spero has eight shutouts this season. Getting an early goal here could make life a lot easier. Raiders forward Stephen Nicholas is the best player on the ice most nights, but Mamaroneck is a much deeper team with Alex Ewald and Will Kirk leading a long list of capable scorers.
Prediction: We’ve seen a few teams sent home after failing to capture that troublesome third meeting, I’m thinking it’s a trend that takes a turn here – Tigers win 3-1.
No. 2 Suffern (18-3) vs. No. 6 North Rockland (11-6-4)
Scouting report: The Red Raiders have done a fair amount of growing up over the course of the season and no longer solely relies on a handful of talented upperclassmen to make the big plays. Suffern won both meetings between the Rockland County rivals, 4-2 and 2-1. It’s always a physical game as the programs have a bumpy little brother/big brother relationship. North Rockland goalie Kenny Hoppe is giving his teammates a chance every time they step onto the ice. He’s tested the Mounties’ patience in the past. This is a game where the grinders like Tim Patwell and Mike Ruthberg must play well for Suffern.
Prediction: Getting a high school team refocused after it pulls off the biggest playoff upset of the year is not be easy and Mounties goalie Sean Gordon is sharp right now – Suffern wins 4-2.
No. 1 Pelham (16-5) vs. No. 4 Rye (14-8)
Scouting report: Somebody riled up the Pelicans. They heard that Mount Pleasant was a pretty good team and promptly dumped in 10 goals during a quarterfinal win. Ben Hurd and Stefan Miklakos are probably the most dangerous tandem in Section 1 right now. It’s going to be difficult for Rye to stay close. No matter what the game plan is, the Garnets have to have a better-than-average showing in goal. Theo Bresolin and Co. proved they can score against Pelham in a 7-4 loss earlier in the season, but Rye cannot let this become a shootout.
Prediction: I’m a little concerned when the Pelicans get in a close game, but I don’t see that happening until regionals – Pelham 6-3.
No. 2 Brewster (18-2-1) vs. No. 6 Rye Town/Harrison (17-5)
Brewster Ice Arena
Scouting report: One team is flashy. One team is gritty. Max Picker and Doug Harrison always seem to earn style points when they score. Both of them create matchup issues for opposing defensemen. Aaron Treiling and Kyle Dineen always seem to get the job done. They just hustle to pucks and keep the pressure on. The Titans are the more talented group, so it’s going to be important for Brewster not to venture outside its comfort zone. Gambling against RTH usually leads to penalties, and that would be a critical mistake.
Prediction: The Titans were talking about a rematch with Pelham on the bus ride home from last year’s championship loss – Rye Town/Harrison 5-3.