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The numbers might not jump off the stat sheet. But there’s every reason to believe Sunday night was a breakout game for Ian Bass.
Rye Town/Harrison’s sophomore forward scored two goals in a convincing 4-1 win over 11th-seeded North Rockland in the opening round of the Section 1 Division 1 hockey tournament at Playland.
Bass, who had just 10 goals coming into the game, spearheaded a commanding effort for the sixth-seeded Titans, using his mix of speed and power in a dominant team effort.
“We’ve been waiting for this from him,” Rye Town/Harrison coach Steve Forzaglia said. “Ian’s hands are phenomenal and he has such good size. We’ve been working on him getting to the net and getting shots off.”
Bass and the Titans did that relentlessly from the start last night. They outshot North Rockland 41-19, including 15-2 in a scoreless first period.
“I’ve been looking for this all season,” Bass said. “I knew I had the talent. But I needed that breakout game.”
Bass leads Rye Town/Harrison (12-7-1) into Tuesday’s quarterfinals. The Titans will meet New Rochelle at the Ice Hutch at 7:45 p.m. New Rochelle swept the season series against Rye Town, defeating the Titans 5-3 back on Nov. 29 and 3-1 on Jan. 23.
"I like the way we’re playing right now,” Forzaglia said. “We’ve played New Ro' tight the last couple years and they’ve all been back and forth.”
Sunday's victory for the Titans avenged a regular season loss to North Rockland, a 4-2 defeat three weeks ago that Forzaglia said was his teams worst performance of the year.
"We didn’t get our act together that day,” Bass said. “We came out weak.”
It sure wasn't that way Sunday night as the Titans dominated possession from the start. But North Rockland goalie Anthony Depinto turned away all 15 shots, including three during a penalty kill late in the period.
Bass had two of the best chances for Rye Town, including a breakaway where he was hooked from behind and taken down. A penalty was called but there was no penalty shot.
The only real action Titans goalie Jaime Ketchebaw saw in the first was a wrister on a North Rockland power play late in the first. But Rye Town even controlled possession for most of that.
"We knew we had to keep going,” Forzaglia said. “We had to keep trying until something pops. And we knew once we got one, we’d get a couple of more.”
Rye Town finally broke out in a flurry in the second period, scoring three goals in the span of 90 seconds.
Bass had the first, coming off a rebound with 5:19 left. Sal Giacomo made it 2-0 with his 11th goal of the season, depositing a pretty pass from behind the net from Dean Brancucci with 4:03 to play.
Before North Rockland knew what hit them, the Titans found the net again off the ensuing face off. Again off a rebound, Ryan Morningstar put in his second goal of the season.
The frenzy seemed inevitable given how Rye Town controlled the puck, out shooting North Rockland 25-8 to that point.
Bass sealed it early in the third with second goal. Sal Giacomo, Kevin Fusco, Evan Jacobs, Jake Picker and Jake Chalfin all had assists in the victory.
Jaime Ketchebaw made 18 saves in the victory for Rye Town, his lone goal against coming with coming with 2:44 to play by Nicholas Haubner.
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