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BREWSTER, N.Y. – In the third period, the penalties kept piling up for Somers/North Salem. If you glanced over at their penalty box, chances are someone was occupying it. For basically the entire period, Lakeland/Panas was on the power play.
Matt Rubenstein decided to save the day.
Rubenstein, a junior goaltender, stood on his head and made 25 saves for the Sabers to preserve a 2-1 victory over the Rebels on Friday at Brewster Ice Arena.
“Our goalie played phenomenal,” Somers/North Salem coach Paul DeLeo said. “This is probably his best game (this season).”
The Sabers, who were missing four key players due to injury or illness, committed six penalties in the third period and faced a 5-on-3 early in the period. Rubenstein and the rest of his defense kept coming up big time and again.
“The team just wanted to win very badly,” Rubenstein said. “We were in a slump and we just really needed this win. We pulled through today.”
The victory didn’t come easy.
“I started to get nervous when they had a 5-on-3 and they hit the post,” Rubenstein said. “I was scared for my life that it was going in. I just tried to get those rebounds, cover them up and just stop the puck for my team.”
DeLeo gave credit to sophomore Nick Adams, who he cited as his top penalty killer.
“He was the only guy out there on every 5-on-3,” said DeLeo, who also pointed out junior defenseman Mike Felton for playing a solid game. “I can’t say enough about the way he played.”
Somers/North Salem (4-5-1) gained a 2-1 lead just 52 seconds into the second period when freshman Wilson McCloy blasted a slapshot past Stephen Bub.
The Rebels (2-6) gained the early lead with 5:10 left in the first period on a goal by junior Patrick Mckiernan. Junior Connor Bubolo and sophomore Michael Brannagan had the assists.
Minutes later, Somers/North Salem answered with a goal by sophomore Noah Hale to tie the game at 1-1. He was assisted by sophomore Mitch Lanyi.
It’s been an up and down season for the Sabers, but they’re looking to turn it up a notch in the second half of the season. They won’t hit the ice again until January 6 when they square off with Fox Lane.
“We’ve been slowly improving,” Rubenstein said. “Our practices are getting better and better. We’re on break now, but we’re not going to lose focus.”
GAME NOTES: One goal is the least amount of goals allowed by Somers/North Salem in a game this season. They’ve held opponents to two goals twice. There were 21 total penalties committed in the game. Somers/North Salem’s leading scorer, David Rubenstein (7G), missed the game due to a concussion. Chris Marasco, who was supposed to be one of their leading scorers, is out for the season after getting shoulder surgery. The Sabers had lost four out of five games prior to this win. Lakeland/Panas was coming off an impressive 3-2 win over Mahopac after losing five in a row.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Rubenstein mirrors a brick wall: After allowing a first period goal, Somers/North Salem’s Matt Rubenstein was sensational in net. He finished with 25 saves and had to deal with Lakeland/Panas being on the power play for the majority of the third period.
2. Overcoming penalties: Somers/North Salem committed six penalties in the third period and was down a man for most of the period. They faced a 5-on-3 early in the third period and overcame it.
3. Underclassmen step up: Somers/North Salem’s goals came from a freshman in Wilson McCloy and a sophomore in Noah Hale. Mitch Lanyi, a sophomore, notched an assist on Hale’s goal. “It only bodes well for the future,” DeLeo said.
L/P (5:10) Patrick Mckiernan from Connor Bubolo and Michael Brannagan – 1-0 L/P
S/NS (2:49) Noah Hale from Mitch Lanyi – 1-1
S/NS (14:08) Wilson McCloy unassisted – 2-1 S/NS
Somers/North Salem: Noah Hale (1G); Wilson McCloy (1G); Mitch Lanyi (1A)
Lakeland/Panas: Patrick Mckiernan (1G); Connor Bubolo (1A); Michael Brannagan (1A)
Somers/North Salem: Matt Rubenstein (25 saves)
Lakeland/Panas: Brandon Vazquez (12 saves); Stephen Bub (six saves)
Somers/North Salem: 3 11 6 20
Lakeland/Panas: 10 5 11 26
Follow Rob DiAntonio on Twitter @MSGV_RJD