If their performance at the Guy Matthews Thanksgiving Invitational Hockey Tournament is any indication, the Rye Town/Harrison Titans could be poised for big things this winter. With three wins in three days—against teams from both Section I and beyond—the Titans look to be a formidable squad, and should soon start to make noise as the rest of the area teams get underway this week.
Rye Town/Harrison wasted little time in their season opener on Nov. 24, as they scored two goals in the first four minutes against Section IX’s Monroe-Woodbury at the Ebersole Ice Rink en route to an 8-3 thrashing of the Crusaders. Max Chalfin and Jack Shapiro both scored twice while Mark Hlushko, Matt Milone, Christian Pizzutello and Keiran Storch all found the net in the Titans’ first win under newly appointed head coach Rich Myers.
According to Chalfin, the importance of a quick start was impressed upon the Titans’ skaters prior to the game.
“We were just moving the puck well, and we were really eager to be out there starting the season,” Chalfin said. “I don’t think there has really been that much of a learning curve, we’ve known Rich and [assistant coach] Jamie [Funigiello] for a while, and they’ve come and fit right in here.”
Nico Barry, who made six saves in two periods of work, was named the opening game’s Most Valuable Player in his Titans debut. After an uneventful first period, Barry faced considerable pressure in the second, but managed to buckle down and help preserve the team’s lead.
“Early on, it was a lot of stopping and starting and I think it was like 10 minutes in between them getting a shot,” Barry said. “But the guys played really good in front of me, we didn’t have a lot of cross-ice passes in our own zone, and offense is really the best defense; it took a lot of pressure off me.”
The Titans kept up their momentum throughout the weekend, earning a 4-3 win over New Rochelle on Nov. 25, on Jack Shapiro’s third and final goal of the game with 1:25 left to play, and erasing an early 2-0 deficit against Lakeland on Sunday to top the Panthers 7-3.
At 3-0 on the year, the Titans will hope to continue their streak when they get back on the ice on Dec. 10 against Iona Prep. According to Chalfin, the team will spend the next few weeks fine-tuning their style as they hope to improve upon last year’s 11-9 record.
“It’s definitely big,” he said. “This gives us confidence and it motivates us even more. We’re looking to that eventual goal of a state championship.”