Raiders Open With A Win
With just under five minutes remaining in Friday’s AAU New York State Hockey Tournament Mixed School Division game at Northwest Arena, a solitary voice from the crowd exclaimed:
“Way to work, Raiders!”
Jamestown head coach Joe Gerace was likely thinking that from the bench, too.
Sparked by an unassisted first-period goal by Jadon Barron and an insurance tally in the third period by Blade Ellis on an assist by Jack Brinkley, the Raiders opened the weekend with an impressive, 2-1, victory over Manhasset on Friday afternoon.
“I was very pleased with how the team played today,” Gerace said. “We followed our system. We’re really all about pumping that puck in and forechecking. I think we dominated time of possession of the puck today. … I’m very fortunate. I’ve got a team that the goals are spread around. There are no selfish players out there.”
There won’t be much time for the Raiders to celebrate the win, however, as they are scheduled to be back on the ice at 7 this morning against Rockville. Twelve hours later, they’ll meet Wantagh-Seaford.
Such is life with a state championship on the line.
“Everybody that’s in the tournament has to do the same thing,” Gerace said. “The difference is we get to sleep in our beds. It’s an advantage, obviously, but we’re going to come prepared. The kids are talking about taking care of their bodies. I gave them a curfew. We’re going to come ready to play, bright and early.”
“He played very well,” Gerace said. “It was a solid, solid effort.”
The only goal Chapman allowed came after Manhasset pulled its goalie — Kevin Becker — with 1:14 remaining in favor of an extra attacker. Thirty-four seconds later, Manhasset’s Christopher Boisselle beat Chapman, courtesy of an assist by Zachary Puma.
The Raiders kept the pressure on for most of the game, but Becker was strong in net, allowing Barron’s goal at 4:44 of the first period and Ellis’ goal with 14;59 left in the third.
“Just a great shot,” Gerace said of Barron’s goal. “He beat the goaltender. Raw talent.”
The score remained, 1-0, until Ellis scored on a nice feed from Brinkley with 14:59 remaining in the game. That tally came a half-minute after Becker twice denied the Raiders with excellent saves.
“Their goaltender played outstanding,” Gerace said. “We were able to find the back of the net twice. This is the beginning. We have four more games to win.”
All teams in the Mixed Division, as well as the Large School and Small School categories, will play three round-robin games to determine who moves on to Sunday’s semifinals, for which the Mixed Division teams will take to the ice at noon and 12:15 p.m. before the 5:30 p.m. finals.
Round-robin games will end in ties following the conclusion of three 17-minute periods of play, while semifinal and final games will go through five minutes of four-on-four overtime, followed by five minutes of three-on-three overtime. If there is still a tie after those two extra periods the teams will continue playing three-on-three until a winner is determined with no shootout taking place.
Should teams finish round-robin play with an even number of points, a long list of tiebreakers will determine who moves on, starting with most wins for the weekend and then goal differential.