North Rockland makes it two straight
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WEST NYACK, N.Y. — It appears the dog days are finally over for North Rockland's hockey squad.
The Red Raiders won their second straight game on Wednesday, outscoring Nyack/Tappan Zee 3-0 in the third period en route to a 5-2 victory at Palisades Center Ice Rink. North Rockland — which also beat Carmel, 5-4, in overtime on Jan. 7 — no longer resembles the team that started the season 0-7-1.
“We are a very young team and kids are finally getting confidence now,” captain Ian Mueller said. “From here on out, I think we are going to be pretty good.”
Against the Ice Hawks (5-7-1), Mueller was better than good. The senior forward notched a season-high five points (2G, 3A) to pace North Rockland's offense.
“(Mueller) predicates his game on hustle and working hard,” Red Raiders coach Gary Dworkowitz said. “He went out and had a tremendous game. He led by example. He doesn't say a whole lot, but he leads the way.”
Mueller triggered the third-period explosion, scoring an unassisted power-play goal at 13:19 to break a 2-2 stalemate.
“That was huge,” Mueller said of the go-ahead goal. “We have been working on the power play all week. To get it finally going is great. I was just a momentum changer.”
But North Rockland's star wasn't done. He also assisted the final two goals of the game, finding Brian Bohlander at 7:59 and Nicholas Haubner (1G, 2A) at 3:46 to seal it.
Overall, the Red Raiders (2-7-1) owned the third period, outshooting Nyack/TZ 11-4.
“Our kids work real hard in conditioning at practices,” Dworkowitz said. “And I think that's where the game came down to. The things our guys do at practice and the time and effort they put in comes out in the third period of games.”
For the Ice Hawks, the third-period collapse was due to a costly trip to the penalty box. Standout senior forward Mike McGivney was nailed with a double minor penalty for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct one minute and 41 seconds into the third period after a scrum broke out in front of the Nyack/TZ net. North Rockland scored the go-ahead goal on the ensuing power play.
“I thought we controlled the tempo in the fist couple of periods and we wanted to finish it in the third, but then we wound up getting the extra penalty in the scrum,” Nyack/TZ coach Mike Hughes said. “It was unfortunate, but we aren't going to make an excuse of it. We have to come through and kill the penalty.”
North Rockland also started the game strong, grabbing a 2-1 first-period lead. Senior forward Sean Meigh tallied the game's first goal two minutes and two seconds into the action. Nyack/TZ's Matt Wylie evened it up at 10:51, but Mueller netted the go-ahead goal with 45.8 seconds left in the first.
The Ice Hawks played their best hockey in the second period, outscoring the Red Raiders 1-0 to even it at 2-2 heading into the third. Steve Bermingham notched the goal off an assist from McGivney at the 8:21 mark.
But the third period was all about North Rockland. The Red Raiders, a young and inexperienced team with just four seniors, seemingly grew up in the decisive final period.
“Guys are learning to play on a higher level,” Dworkowitz said. “You can't speed up the clock — it takes experience. As time goes by, we can't help but get better by working hard.”
GAME NOTES: The five points were a season-high for Mueller, who doubled his season total in the process. He leads North Rockland with seven goals and three assists … North Rockland scored just eight goals in its first eight games of the season. The Red Raiders have now scored 10 goals in back-to-back win over Carmel and Nyack/TZ. The two teams tied 2-2 back on Dec. 11 … McGivney leads Nyack/TZ in scoring with 25 points (14G, 11A).
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Mueller masterful: Ian Mueller had a hand in all five of North Rockland's goals. The senior forward was relentless in his approach, working each shift to the max. He has to be considered the symbol of North Rockland's sudden turnaround.
2. Ice Hawks take costly trip to the box: The Ice Hawks committed a costly double minor penalty at the beginning of the third period, which gave North Rockland the momentum to steal the game. Coach Mike Hughes detailed the impact of it all: “I think our energy level sagged after we got short-handed. And then they gained momentum. We have to come out better for 15 minutes.”
3. North Rockland's stamina: North Rockland's strong third-period effort also had a lot to do with its conditioning habits. “All week in practice conditioning has been great,” Mueller said “We have been giving 100 percent effort. And it paid off in the third period.”
North Rockland: 2 0 3 5
Nyack/TZ: 1 1 0 2
NRK (12:58) Sean Meigh from Ian Mueller |1-0 NRK
NTZ (10:51) Matt Wylie from Brian Bermingham and Corey Aronson | 1-1
NRK (0:45.8) Mueller from Nicholas Haubner | 2-1 NRK
NTZ (8:21) Steve Bermingham from Mike McGivney | 2-2
NRK (13:19) Mueller unassisted | 3-2 NRK *
NRK (7:59) Brian Bohlander from Mueller and Haubner | 4-2 NRK
NRK (3:46) Haubner from Mueller | 5-2 NRK
* Indicates power play goal
North Rockland: Ian Mueller (2G, 3A); Nicholas Haubner (1G, 2A); Sean Meigh (1G); Brian Bohlander (1G)
Nyack/TZ: Matt Wylie (1G); Steve Bermingham (1G); Brian Bermingham (1A); Corey Aronson (1A); Mike McGivney (1A)
North Rockland: Anthony Depinto (14 saves)
Nyack/TZ: Steve Varmon (22 saves)
North Rockland: 6 10 11 27
Nyack/TZ: 5 7 4 16
Email Isaac Cass at Icass@cablevision.com | Follow him on Twitter @MSGV_Icass