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MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – New Rochelle's hockey squad had some big expectations heading into the Section 1 Division 1 playoffs.
After winning five out of their last seven games to close out the regular season, the Huguenots headed into their opening round game against Lakeland/Panas with some real momentum.
“We’re kind of peaking right now,” New Rochelle coach Jim Tozzo said. “We’ve had a good season, but we’ve managed to generate a lot of offense and play solidly defensively later in the year. Our goalie is playing well, too, so we’ve had the right combination of things going on.”
Against the No. 14-seeded Rebels, New Rochelle put it all on display. The No. 3-seeded Huguenots cruised to an 8-0 win to setup a quarterfinal matchup against the winner of No. 6 Ryetown/Harrison vs. No. 11 North Rockland on Tuesday.
“It was a good start to get off to and then every period we just got a little bit better,” said New Rochelle goalie Greg Feliu, who made 26 saves to record the shutout. “It was just good defense to be honest. It just clicked and felt good. Hopefully, we can do that in the rest of these games.”
While New Rochelle's defense played great, its offense was actually equally impressive. Freshman forward/defenseman Kenny McLean posted a hat-trick and added an assist.
“We came out fast and everyone chipped in," McLean said. "I think we played great. Everybody gave me great passes. If it wasn’t for everyone else, I couldn’t (have scored the hat-trick).”
Brothers Chris and Joey Ramondelli also excelled for the Huguenots. Chris went for two goals and three assists, while Joey added a goal and an assist. Sophomore forward Brett Barry also chipped in with a goal and two assists and senior forward John Tenore rounded out the scoring with a goal.
Lakeland/Panas goalie Brandon Vazquez (31 saves) did what he could to stave off the Huguenots, but the Rebels struggled to match New Rochelle's speed.
Looking ahead to a potential matchup against either Ryetown/Harrison or North Rockland, Tozzo remained level-headed.
“Both teams scare us,” the coach said. “North Rockland gave us a heck of a game earlier (in the season). As it goes along, it gets tougher and tougher. (The next game) can go either way.”
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Speed kills: New Rochelle's speed gave Lakeland/Panas fits on both offense and defense.
2. Feliu leads the way: Goalie Greg Feliu was stellar between the pipes and blanked L/P's offense.
3. Don’t stop: New Rochelle's attack was relentless, attacking the goal throughout the game — even with the lead.
Lakeland/Panas 0 0 0 0
New Rochelle 2 4 2 8
NR (11:08) Chris Ramondelli from Brett Barry | 1-0 NR
NR (5:09) C Ramondelli unassisted | 2-0 NR
NR (11:05) Kenny McLean from Barry and C Ramondelli | 3-0 NR
NR (10:09) Joey Ramondelli from John Valente | 4-0 NR
NR (5:36) John Tenore from J Ramondelli and C Ramondelli | 5-0 NR
NR (3:23) Barry from McLean and C Ramondelli | 6-0 NR
NR (7:39) McLean unassisted | 7-0 NR
NR (5:08) McLean from Kenny Bevlin | 8-0 NR
New Rochelle: Chris Ramondelli (2G, 3A); Kenny McLean (3G, 1A); Joey Ramondelli (1G, 1 A); Brett Barry (1G, 2A); John Tenore (1G)
New Rochelle: Greg Feliu (26 saves)
Lakeland/Panas: Brandon Vazquez (31 saves)
New Rochelle 6 9 7 26
Lakeland/Panas 13 13 13 39
Follow Jordan Griffith on Twitter @MSGV_JGriffith