With a host of returning players—and a new coach calling the shots—the Rye Town/Harrison Titans hit the ice last week in preparation for the 2016-17. Given the team’s success over the past few years, the Titans are hoping to once again vie for supremacy in a crowded Division I landscape.
Newly appointed head coach Rich Myers will be behind the bench for the Titans this season, following 15 years of coaching at the club level with the White Plains Plainsmen. According to Myers, his familiarity with the players on the combined team that features players from Blind Brook, Harrison, Rye Neck and Port Chester has been a boon in the early-goings of the preseason.
“Fortunately, I’ve either personally coached or coached against nearly every kids on this team, and they know me too,” Myers said. “And I’ve been pleasantly surprised as far as the skill level of the team; there’s not a big drop-off talent-wise.”
After earning appearances in the Section I finals in both 2015 and 2016, the Titans head into the upcoming campaign coming off an 11-9 regular season record and a first-round playoff exit against Clarkstown.
This year’s squad brings back a number of standouts, including speedy winger Max Chalfin, who led all returners with 20 points last season. Chalfin will be joined on the offensive end by fellow senior Sam Kaplan, who had 10 assists last season, and junior Jack Shapiro, who tallied 11 total points.
Senior defenseman Matt Milone will give the Titans a solid physical presence on the blue line and should also be a major offensive contributor as well.
Although Myers admitted that he’s still becoming familiar with the talent on the roster, with nearly 30 players on the roster, he hopes to see the Titans use their depth and skill to their advantage.
“We plan to run a high-intensity, fast-tempo speed game,” he said. “But you can’t make kids faster, so we if that style doesn’t fit, we’re going to have to make adjustments going forward.”
The Titans officially kick off the year on Nov. 25, when they suit up for the annual White Plains Invitational Tournament held at the Ebersole Ice Rink. With three games in three days, the tourney should help the Titans figure out where they are as they get ready for the rest of the regular season.
“Early on, I just want to see that we are outworking other teams, and I want to see that we are making sound hockey decisions,” Myers said. “Everyone is in the same boat early on, everyone is a little rusty, but our guys have been playing together, and I think that is an advantage.”