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The Somers/North Salem hockey squad got off to a rocky start last season and ended up finishing below .500.
In 2012-13, the Sabers have done their best to make sure history doesn't repeat.
Somers/North Salem (4-2-1) continued its strong early-season play on Friday at Brewster Ice Arena, outscoring Yorktown 7-0 over the final two periods en route to a convincing 9-2 win.
Sabers coach Paul DeLeo said the hot start was mainly due to senior goaltender Matt Rubenstein, who made 16 saves and blanked the Huskers over the final two periods. Indeed, Rubenstein has been a rock as the last line of defense, posting a stellar 2.14 goals against average and an 88.8 save percentage.
"(Rubenstein) has been doing a great job stopping the shots he needs to stop," DeLeo said.
Against Yorktown, Somers/North Salem's offense wasn't too shabby, either. The nine goals were a season-high for the Sabers, who last put up a nine-spot against Greeley all the way back in 2010. The bulk of the offensive onslaught came over the final two periods, as they outshot Yorktown 15-8.
"To be honest with you, I think we just started shooting much more," DeLeo said of the fireworks. "In the first period, we weren't really shooting the puck. I always try to encourage them to shoot and go to the net and keep it simple."
Junior defenseman Noah Hale certainly made it look simple, pumping in a team-high three goals and an assist. Hale sparked the 7-0 blitzkrieg with 13:36 left in the second period, scoring off a setup from RJ LaSpina (1G, 2A) and David Rubenstein (1G, 3A) to break a 2-2 tie.
The lead merely snowballed from there.
Mitch Lanyi (1G, 4A), Mike Felton (1G, 1A), Wilson McCloy (2A), Chris Marasco(1G), Luigi Olinto (1G) and Alex Sheehy (1A) rounded out the offensive production for the Sabers.
For Yorktown (0-6), junior forward Chris Cunnington scored both of his team-high two goals in the opening period. Tyler Proscia (1A), Shaun Benson (1A) and Frank Gavigan (1A) each tallied an assist. Both of Cunnington's goals came inside the final 3:04 of the first period, helping the Huskers climb out of an early 2-0 hole. Goalie Steven Pupczyk stopped 14 shots.
"We skated a good first period, but they pulled away in the second and third period," Yorktown coach Bob Fritche said. "There was a little trouble in the net, but it's something we are working through. We are filling a big void when we lost Randy."
Fritche was referring to former all-section netminder Randy Ashe, who was lost to graduation. Ashe kept the Huskers in a ton of games last season and was the biggest they went 14-6-1 and captured the Conference I-League A title.
"It's one of those things," Fritche said. "It's going to be a long year."
Yorktown (0-6) will look to pick up its first win of the season on Sunday against undefeated Greeley at Brewster Ice Arena. The Sabers hope to continue their strong start as they travel to face the Harvey School on December 14.
GAME NOTES: Mitch Lanyi leads Somers/North Salem in scoring with 11 points (6G, 5A), while teammate David Rubenstein is second with nine points (4G, 5A) … Yorktown beat Somers/North Salem twice last season. The Sabers will get a chance to return the favor when the two squads meet again on January 12.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1) Somers/North Salem's offense explodes: The Sabers turned in their best offensive performance in two years, pumping in a season-high nine goals. With talented offensive players like Mitch Lanyi and David Rubenstein, there's no reason Somers/North Salem can't continue to light up scoreboards.
2) Freshmen chip in: Freshmen RJ LaSpina, Kyle Hanszer and Alex Sheey are providing a big boost for Somers/North Salem. The trio is experienced beyond their years and afford the Sabers some much-needed depth. "They are playing a lot of minutes and usually at the varsity level you don't have a lot of ninth-graders doing that," coach Paul DeLeo commented.
3) Yorktown's missing Ashe: Coach Bob Fritche had quite the luxury last year in all-section goalie Randy Ashe, who saved the Huskers' bacon time and again. Yorktown's young goalies have shown promise, but it's virtually impossible for any team to lose its best player and not suffer a setback.
Yorktown 2 0 0 2
Somers/NS 2 3 4 9
SN (11:58) RJ LaSpina from David Rubenstein | 1-0 SN
SN (3:53) Rubenstein from Mitch Lanyi | 2-0 SN *
YT (3:04) Chris Cunnington from Shaun Benson | 2-1 SN
YT (1:57) Cunnington from Tyler Proscia and Frank Gavigan | 2-2 *
SN (13:36) Noah Hale from LaSpina and Rubenstein | 3-2 SN
SN (6:48) Chris Marasco from Alex Sheehy and Mike Felton | 4-2 SN
SN (4:46) Hale from Wilson McCloy and Lanyi | 5-2 SN *
SN (13:48) Felton unassisted | 6-2 SN
SN (10:54) Lanyi from Hale and LaSpina | 7-2 SN *
SN (5:32) Luigi Olinto from Rubenstein and Lanyi | 8-2 SN
SN (1:18) Hale from McCloy | 9-2 SN
* Indicates a power-play goal
Yorktown: Chris Cunnington (2G); Tyler Proscia (1A); Shaun Benson (1A); Frank Gavigan (1A)
Somers/NS: Noah Hale (3G, 1A); David Rubenstein (1G, 3A); Mitch Lanyi (1G, 4A); RJ LaSpina (1G, 2A); Mike Felton (1G, 1A); Wilson McCloy (2A); Chris Marasco (1G); Luigi Olinto (1G); Alex Sheehy (1A);
Yorktown: Steven Pupczyk (14 saves)
Somers/NS: David Rubenstein (16 saves)
Yorktown 10 3 5 18
Somers/NS 8 8 7 23
Follow Isaac Cass on Twitter @MSGV_Icass | Email him at Icass@cablevision.com