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Clarkstown North turns back Stepinac for White Plains title

Posted Monday, December 01, 2008 by LoHud.com

WHITE PLAINS —- It may have only been one tournament and three wins, but that's not how Clarkstown North saw it.

After winning just one game last year and dropping from League 1 to League 2, the Rams couldn't wait to start the hockey season.

Clarkstown North took advantage of its opportunity to serve the other League 1 teams notice as the Rams won the White Plains hockey tournament with a 7-3 win last night over Stepinac at Ebersole Ice Rink.

"Everyone doubted us in the beginning of the year, saying how we did so bad last year," Clarkstown North senior forward Matt Willows said. "We knew we had a strong team coming into the year and we knew we could compete at this level and play against some of these Division 1 teams."

Clarkstown North beat Monroe-Woodbury and Somers/North Salem on its way to the title.

"It's all about showing teams we can step up to the challenge and we're going to be spoilers this year," said Spencer Cohen of Clarkstown North. "We're here to win."

It didn't take long for Clarkstown North to show Stepinac its desire to win. Less than three minutes into the game, Jake Shuman scored the first of his four goals when he deflected in a shot by Alex Willows from the point, giving the Rams an early lead.

But it wasn't until the first period began to wind down that Clarkstown North started to pull away.

Ahead by two goals, Shuman broke free and skated untouched toward the goal. His shot flew past the keeper and the Rams took a 3-0 lead with four minutes left in the first period. The goal was the first of three the Rams would score in the next minute.

Shuman ended the five-goal first period for the Rams as he scored off a give-and-go from Cohen.

"We came out ready to play and we knew that it wasn't going to be as easy as the first two games," Shuman said. "We knew that we had to work together and put the goals up right away. We couldn't sit back we had to score first."

Rocco Miano (two goals, one assist) was able to get the Crusaders on the board with less than a minute left in the first period as he scored on a breakaway.

The output was a little less than the seven goals he scored against White Plains in the semifinals, but trailing by five goals early made it tough for Stepinac to get in to a rhythm offensively.

"They scored five goals in the first period, they came out hard," Miano said. "We went down and we thought the game was over. We hung our heads."

As for the Rams this was their chance to make a statement to the teams in League 1 that are waiting for them on their schedule.

"After our bad season last year, we didn't want to be looked down upon," Shuman said. "We were upset and thought it was a mistake that they put us in League 2 and we want to show everyone that we're a League 1 team."

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