By Stephen Rothman
After ending last season on a sour note – losing in excruciating fashion to Pelham in the sectional semi-finals – the Mamaroneck Varsity Hockey Team was ready to put that loss in the rearview mirror and start thinking about this year. “Last year, when we lost to Pelham, we were pissed. We knew we were the better team, and they took what we wanted so badly in a matter of seconds. Going into the season, we took that feeling of disappointment and heartbreak and we’ve used it to fuel us both on and off the ice,” captain Jason Bienstock ’16 said.
The mindset resonated with the team, and they changed their preparation coming into the season. “The fall league we participated in this year was different than previous years because in the past we have all played on different travel teams – a couple of us on one team, a few on another. This year, though, we all played for the same team. We were able to try out different line combinations, create more chemistry, and work out a lot of our mishaps before the varsity season began, which was extremely beneficial for the start of our season,” Bienstock added.
To no one’s surprise, the work is paying off. The team has gone upstate on two occasions, and returned home with a pair of trophies, beating Bethlehem, Shaker Colony, Saratoga, and Shenendehowa in the process. They outscored their opponents 25 – 7.
This past weekend, the Tigers participated in the first ever “Great 8” tournament at the Ice Hutch, in nearby Mount Vernon. In two games, they beat Iona Prep, 5-0, and Niagara Wheatfield, 4-3.
Perhaps the biggest difference for the Tigers so far this year is the team’s ability to put the puck in the back of the net. In 22 games last season, they totaled 64 goals. Meanwhile, they have 42 goals through just 7 games this season, propelling them to a 7-0 record, and a number three ranking in New York State.
Although the Tigers are pleased with the results so far this season, they know that they can’t be complacent. “We are a team that wants to keep building off of our success. Our goal is to learn something from every game we play. We weren’t happy with the way last season turned out, and we’re doing everything in our power to make sure we have a different outcome this year,” Chris Conley ’16 remarked.
Looking ahead, the team has their home opener against Clarkstown on December 22 as well as home games against rivals Scarsdale and Suffern on January 6 and 29 respectively