Mamaroneck outlasts White Plains
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As Thursday's Conference II showdown between White Plains and Mamaroneck crept into the third period, the host Tigers were running on fumes.
Mamaroneck, however, was just starting to kick into gear.
The visiting Tigers from Mamaroneck flexed well-conditioned muscles late, scoring a pair of goals inside the first four minutes and 20 seconds of the final period en route to a 2-0 win at Ebersole Ice Rink.
“That's all about conditioning,” said Mamaroneck goalie Brett Poniros, who made 24 saves to record his first shutout of the season. “[White Plains] was falling all over the ice and we were able to take advantage a lot. We kept our legs throughout the game and that really helped us out.
Mamaroneck (2-1) outshot White Plains (2-2) a commanding 14-5 in the third period, dominating every square inch of the ice.
The barrage of shots paid off with 13:07 left in the game, as Trey Herlitz-Ferguson lit the lamp for his first career varsity goal. The junior forward, who was positioned with his back to the net, took a pass from junior defenseman Josh Kriss, spun in one fluid motion and backhanded a shot top shelf. It was the kind of goal that even a seasoned finisher produces once in a blue moon.
“We were looking to come out and get that first goal of the period,” Herlitz-Ferguson said. “The puck floated to my backhand and I just took that shot.”
Like Poniros, Herlitz-Ferguson said the third-period explosion was due to superior conditioning.
“We were like a foot in front of them,” he said. “We had a lot more speed.”
And White Plains never had a chance to catch up.
Mamaroneck doubled its lead two minutes and 27 seconds later behind a goal from senior forward Nick Spano, who beat White Plains goalie Chris Stangarone with a sneaky wrist shot from the wing. Nick Carducci set it all up, digging the puck out along the boards before feeding it to a charging Spano.
“We came out strong, but [Mamaroneck] outworked us,” Stangarone said of the third-period lapse. “They have a very good team and they just came out hard.”
Stangarone did everything humanly possible to keep White Plains in contention. The freshman phenom was razor-sharp in between the pipes, contorting his body every which way to make a season-high 40 saves.
“My defense is playing very well for me and communicating well and letting me see the puck,” said Stangarone, who also started last year as an eighth-grader.
Poniros wasn't the least bit surprised with his counterpart's effort.
“We knew that Stangarone was a good goalie because we played against him last year,” he said. “Although he's young, that kid can play.”
Of course, Stangarone's dominance also pushed Mamaroneck into overdrive.
“The more big saves that he made the more it inspired us — and especially me — to keep going and get that win,” Poniros said.
While both goalies turned in impressive performances, that's where the similarities end. Unlike Stangarone, Poniros didn't grow up playing the sport. Despite picking it up at the beginning of high school, he improved has improved an exponential rate. In 2010, Poniros had a breakout campaign and forced his way into the lineup. He split time down the stretch with veteran Alex Harwood.
In 2011, Poniros is the unquestioned starter. The former novice, who wears the “C” on his sweater, has morphed into one of Mamaroneck's most talented players.
“Hockey was a little new for me the past few years,” said Poniros, who was named honorable mention all-section in football after rushing for 1,178 yards and 12 touchdowns. “Now that I have the ball rolling a little bit, everything is coming smoother. I feel can be a vocal captain on the team and get everyone inspired.”
With the lofty goals Mamaroneck has this season, they will certainly need plenty of inspiration.
“We want to win the league and this is a good first step,” Poniros said. “We want to win the sectionals and hopefully go to the state finals. We set the bar high.”
GAME NOTES: Mamaroneck opened the season upstate and split its first two games. The Tigers dropped a hard-fought 3-2 game to Bethlehem and rebounded with a convincing 6-2 win over Christian Brothers Academy (Albany). Mamaroneck will head back upstate next weekend to play perennial powerhouse Saratoga and Shenendehowa. Like Pelham last year, the Tigers are hoping the grueling schedule pays off come playoff time.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Mamaroneck wears down White Plains: As the game progressed, Mamaroneck continued to play at a high level. White Plains struggled to do the same. The shots on goal by period summed it up perfectly. Mamaroneck outshot White Plains 13-11 in the first period, 13-8 in the second period and 14-5 in the third period.
“We run in the offseason and skate hard in the practices,” Poniros said. “We know that as long as we have a shot to win it in the third period, we have a very chance to win the game.”
2. Poniros posts a shutout: Mamaroneck's goalie wasn't tested quite as much as his counterpart, but he was solid throughout to garner his first shutout of the 2011 season. Poniros was also clutch inside the final five minutes of the third period, helping the defense kill off two White Plains power-play opportunities to seal the game.
3. White Plains' offense stalls out: White Plains scored 11 goals in its first two games of the season, which resulted in wins over Clarkstown and Stepinac. In their last two games, however, the Tigers have managed to score just once. While the losses came against quality teams — Monroe-Woodbury and Mamaroneck — it looks like the offense is still trying to find an identity after losing No. 1 playmaker Dan Broderick to graduation.
MK (13:07) Trey Herlitz-Ferguson from Josh Kriss | 1-0 MK
MK (10:40) Nick Spano from Joe Carducci | 2-0 MK
Mamaroneck: Trey Herlitz-Ferguson (1G); Nick Spano (1G); Josh Kriss (1A); Joe Carducci (1A)
Mamaroneck: Brett Poniros (24 saves)
White Plains: Chris Stangarone (40 saves)
* Email Isaac Cass at Icass@cablevision.com | Follow him on Twitter @MSGV_Icass *