Pelicans Swoop In and Snatch Section Crown from Garnets

The Garnets averaged 4.5 goals per game this season, but came up empty when they needed one most. Sixth-seeded Pelham defeated Rye’s top-ranked hockey team 1-0 in the Division II Section championship February 27. It was the second time in three years the Garnets relinquished the Section crown to their rivals at Tate Rink in West Point.

Tommy Sullivan

Although the Pelicans held a 19-8 shots on goal advantage through two periods, the teams entered the final stanza knotted at 0-0. Pelham untied the score 1:59 into the third on a 2-on-1 break when freshman Andrew Schauer centered a perfect pass from the right wing to Will Donovan. Donovan, also a freshman, tapped the puck and it skipped high and past Rye’s Aaron Rix into the net.

The ending could have been different if RHS converted on one of their five power play opportunities. There were a handful of chances in the finals moments as well, but Josh Borofsky, Pelham’s sophomore goaltender, shut Rye out for the first time this season.

It was an unfortunate outcome for Rix, who played valiantly all game and stopped 27 shots, including a flurry with four minutes left.

“Rix was amazing for us the entire season,” said senior captain Tommy Sullivan. “He played so well the whole game, but Pelham made a great play and slipped one by him. It was hard to see the season come down to that.”

Rye head coach Jason Friesen said Rix played a “terrific game”, and thought the senior saved his best work for the team’s three playoff games.

“It was tough seeing him lose but no tougher than seeing any of my seniors lose,” noted Friesen. “They all played great this year – and over the past three or four years for me – and I just wish they could have had a better ending.”

The Garnets finished the season 18-4-1, and graduates six star players in June. Senior captains Nick Rosenfield, Sullivan, and Robert Holmes have combined to start 11 seasons at Rye, and Matt Moran, Rix, and Alfredo Holguin started eight. Moran paced the offense this year with 21 goals and 15 assists.

Rye will, however, return its second- and third-leading scorers for 2011-12 – sophomore Michael Benincasa (31 points) and junior Ryan Rogers (30 points).

“I think the future of this hockey team is very bright,” said Friesen. “We’ll be back next year with a strong core intact and some new pieces sure to compliment what’s in place.”

The Pelicans advanced to the State semifinals in Utica after dispatching Burke Catholic 7-1 in the quarterfinals March 5 at the Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon.

— Jim Byrne


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