After a rough start to the 2018-2019 season, the Rye Town/Harrison Titans proved that their relative inexperience shouldn’t necessarily be cause for concern. With two wins in three games at the annual Guy Matthews Invitational in White Plains, the Titans appear to have the depth—and the skill—to make waves in the Division II landscape this year.
In their season opener against Mahopac on Nov. 21, the Titans saw an early lead evaporate as four-unanswered Indians goals in the first period led to a decisive 7-2 Mahopac victory. But the Titans responded well over the course of their next two outings, topping Clarkstown 6-2 and Brewtown 9-2 to walk away from the tournament with a 2-1 record.
According to second-year head coach Rich Myers, the team’s play ability to rebound from a tough defeat and put together back-to-back victories is an encouraging sign for the remainder of the season.
“We’re really young this year, and to see the kids preserver through that and have some big success was great,” Myers told the Review. “We had four bad minutes and it tarnished what we could have done, but I think we tightened up those mistakes and played a lot better against Clarkstown and Brewtown.”
The Titans were buoyed through the tournament by the stellar offensive play of Joey Harrison, who finished with five goals and an assist, and Jonah Schultz, who finished with two goals and a team-high four assists.
Puck movement on the offensive end was a huge factor in the Titans’ scoring uptick in the team’s two wins, the head coach explained.
“A lot of the goals we had were really impressive, and we had one or two assists on a lot of them, which is good to see,” Myers said. “We had 34 points on our goals, and a lot of that starts on the back end.”
At 2-1 on the year, the Titans will now look toward their home opener on Dec. 3, when they take on a perennially tough Scarsdale team at Rye Playland. According to Myers, it will be incumbent on the team’s veteran leaders, including forwards Jack Shapiro and Christian Pizzutello, along with defenseman Evan Ketchabaw to help set the tone for the team’s younger players. In addition, New York State’s move to 17 minute periods will necessitate increased production from the team’s third and fourth lines moving forward. Against Brewtown, Myers was impressed with the effort of his third line, which helped the Titans stave off a potential comeback attempt.
“We are going to continue to need the third and fourth lines to step up and play important minutes for us,” he said. “And what I saw on Sunday, with the third line maintaining that energy and going on two power plays, that’s exactly the kind of effort we are looking for each game.”