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Rye Loses to Pelham in Championship Game/Season Summary

Posted Thursday, February 27, 2014 by Paul Deen
 By Paul Deen, February 28, 2014 (Rye)

       On Sunday February 23, 2014 in the Section 1, D2 Championship game at the Brewster Ice Arena the Rye Garnets (No. 10 seed) we defeated by their longtime rival Pelham Pelicans (No. 1 seed) by a score of 5-3. The Garnets ascended to the Championship game by defeating last year’s Section 1, D2 Champion John Jay Cross River Indians at the same location two days earlier by a score of 6-3.

 Great Playoff Run

       After going 9-9-2  in the regular season, all the hard work clicked and the Garnets go hot at the right moment; they started to score more goals and the defense tightened. It started in the last game of the regular season against John Jay Cross River who ended the Garnets season a year ago in the Championship game. The Garnets came out and stunned the defending D2 Champs 5-4. The emotional boost carried into Rye’s first 2014 playoff game where they handily beat the Hendrick Hudson Sailors (No. 7 seed) by a score of 5-2.

       Next up were the Pearl River Pirates the No. 2 seed and a complete enigma to Rye. The Garnets crushed the Pirates 9-2 at their home rink Sport O Rama on February 19, 2014. Nine days after defeating the John Jay Cross River Indians (No. 3 seed) the Garnets were facing them again and the outcome was the same! Rye defeated the Indian’s by a  score of 6-3.  One huge challenge lay ahead; the Championship game against Rye’s longtime rival Pelham Pelicans (the Pelicans had defeated the Garnets in January 5-2 at Hommocks).

 Rye v. Pelham

The Pelicans (No. 1 seed) were heavily favored over the Garnets (No. 10 seed) but when these two teams get together the games are usually hotly contested and  decided by one goal. The Pelicans scored first but Rye responded with two goals (a power play goal by Connor Hatch (2G, 2A)  assisted by Joseph Watanabe-Gastel (1A) and a seeing eye shot from the point by defenseman Derek Mullane (1G) assisted by Connor McGovern (2A) and Connor Hatch) to lead at the end of the first period 2-1.

Pelham came out flying in the second period and dominated. They outshot the Garnets 24-5 in the frame, held the Garnets off the score board and scored two goals of their own. The Pelicans lead at the end of the second period 3-2.

Early in the third period, Pelham scored a power play goal to take a 4-2 lead, but Connor Hatch responded with a goal assisted by Matt Holmes (1A) and Connor McGovern. Shockingly, with nine minutes left in regulation time, Rye was called for two separate penalties on the same play and Pelham had a 5-on-3 power play. Pelham had been dominating the game outshooting the Garnets 41-18, but goalie Nat “Deen was nearly spectacular” according to Nancy Haggerty of USA Today and was holding the Pelicans to a one goal lead. A series of penalties were called on both sides over the next 5 minutes and the game ended with Pelham scoring an empty net goal to seal the victory 5-3 in the final minute. The Garnets were dejected, but they should hold their heads high and be proud of a great season, they overcame initial adversity and succeeded.

 Great Season

Congrats to the 2013-2014 Rye Garnets who had successes both on and off the ice this year. Although at times they both dominated and struggled on the ice, never gave up, came together, and were always entertaining to watch. Some highlights of this past season are: shutting out rival Ryetown Harrison; the always special Senior Night ceremonies; defeating rival Mamaroneck; upsetting John Jay twice in 9 days; a great “underdog” playoff run;  and ending their season in a closely contested regional Championship game!  Off the ice the Garnets gave back to the community with the Hunger vs. Hockey food drive, successfully raising contributions to help stock the shelves of The Carver Center Food Pantry in Port Chester, NY.

       The outlook for next year is very strong with 18 of the 25 players able to return. All the best and thank you to the graduating Seniors:  Garrett DiEdwards, Connor Hatch, Cal Hynson, Connor McGovern, Jack O’Brien, Griffin Tutun, and Andrew Urbanczyk.

       Thank you to Coach Jason Friesen and new Assistant Coach Sal Curella for another great season! A special thank you to all the parents and volunteers that give their time and effort to help organize and support the Garnets! And most importantly, thank you to the fans for your boisterous and loyal support throughout the season!

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