By MIKE SMITH
Over the course of a season that hasn’t seen Mamaroneck as dominant an offensive force as it has been in years past, Tiger fans are hopeful the team’s recent scoring explosion against Sleepy Hollow portends big things to come.
On Jan. 18, the Tigers scored a season-high 10 goals against an overmatched Sleepy Hollow team, burying the Horsemen 10-2 for their first win of 2014.
Senior defenseman Brian Schiff led the way for Mamaroneck, scoring one goal and adding five assists in a win that has head coach Mike Chiapparelli hoping the team’s struggles to find the net in the early part of the season might be a thing of the past.
“I think the last three or four games we’ve been getting a lot of good offensive chances,” Chiapparelli said. “In the second period [against Sleepy] we finally started putting them in.”
For a young Tigers team, Schiff has been a steady presence thus far and will be called upon to shepherd the squad into playoffs; uncharted territory for a team that features 11 underclassmen.
“He’s our leader,” Chiapparelli said of Schiff. “He’s got to bring this team, which has had its ups and downs, and take the program as far as it can go.”
At 5-9 on the year, the Tigers are contending with a tough field of Section I teams that includes strong squads from Scarsdale and Pelham as well as a hellacious out-of-section schedule that sees them tangle with some of the top teams in New York State.
“There are a lot of pretty good teams out there, we’ve got a hard schedule,” Chiapparelli said. “Sleepy Hollow was the first team we played that was under .500.”
Though the Tigers lack the elite goal scorers they have had in the past, the squad has relied on contributions from each of its forward lines. Against Sleepy Hollow, the third line accounted for the first two goals of the game, something Chiapparelli said will be one of the keys to a deep postseason runs for the Tigers.
“We haven’t scored a ton of goals, so the fact that we’ve gotten scoring from all three lines is good,” the head coach said.
With games against Mahopac, Rye and ETB on the horizon, Chiapparelli hopes his team is rounding into form just in time for the home stretch.
“I like our progress, I think we’re coming on,” he said. “We’ve played some tough games, had some heartbreakers, but we’re planning to make a run in the playoffs.”