3rd Annual “Winter Classic” Game
Benefitting Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital
Friday, December 8, 2017
Bear Mountain Ice Rink
North Rockland Raiders (Section 1) vs. Monroe Woodbury Crusaders (Section 9)
With the Holiday Season upon us, I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be than Bear Mountain Ice Rink for the 3rd Annual Outdoor “Winter Classic” game between the North Rockland Raiders of Section 1 and the Monroe Woodbury Crusaders of Section 9.
The rink is nestled in a very picturesque setting, adjacent to the Bear Mountain Inn and a stone’s throw from the Hudson River. Temperatures were just above freezing as members of two communities gathered to cheer on their sons and daughters as the faced-off against each other for a great cause — the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital of Westchester County in New York State.
The price of admission for this game was one unwrapped toy, which will be delivered in-person by members of both teams prior to Christmas.
As Public Address Announcer for Monroe Woodbury, it was my job to secure the starting line-ups for both teams and play some tunes during warm-ups. Both went off without a hitch. The opening lineup and ceremonial puck drop at center ice also went very smoothly as I didn’t flub any player names and was even able to acknowledge a few “dignitaries” in the crowd who came out in support of the event.
Opening Lineup for the Raiders: Steven Apicella (D), John Vetter (D), Luke LacMillan (F), Luke Morris (F), Chris Hilliard (F) and Angelo Zodda (G)
Opening Lineup for the Crusaders: Jack Sountis (D), Paul McKeon (D), Richard Monda (F), Edward Dovgn (F), John Paul Luckman (F) and Samuel Steuber (G).
Ceremonial Puck Drop: John Gormley (D) for NR and Joe Baldessarre (F) for MW
However, when it came time for the National Anthem, I mishandled my phone and accidentally silenced the media volume so no sound was coming out. I panicked and instead of checking my settings, I took a deep breath and broke out into an a-Capella rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Many of those in attendance joined me as well! Definitely a memorable moment for me from this game if not for the season to date!
The puck dropped shortly after 4:45 and if there’s one thing you should know about Bear Mountain Rink, the puck is always “live” unless it physically leaves the rink. The boards are surrounded by metal chain-link fencing which helps to create some crazy bounces. It also means you can get “snowed upon” (depending on how close you stand to the rink). All these factors make for a very interesting game whenever I visit Bear Mountain.
North Rockland took a commanding 3-0 lead in the first period as Steven Apicella, Luke Morris and Eric Dunn all found the back of the net for the Raiders. Luke MacMillan assisted on Morris’ goal and Colin Callanan assisted on Dunn’s goal. Apicella scored unassisted.
At the end of the first period, North Rockland had tallied 21 shots on goal to Monroe Woodbury’s one. The second period saw more of the same as North Rockland put four more past Monroe Woodbury goaltender Samuel Steuber on 15 shots on goal. Luke MacMillan scored, Morris and Dun connected again, and Matt Posillipo also hit. Brian Jensen assisted on Morris’ second goal of the game as well as Matt Posillipo’s first goal of the game. Chris Hilliard set up MacMillan’s goal before helping set up Dunn’s second. The Crusaders had two shots on goal in the second frame.
The third period saw the Crusaders come alive with four goals on seven shots. Chris Cromwell scored twice and Richard Monda and Paul McKeon tickled the twine. John Paul Luckman and Paul McKeon assisted on Monda’s goal, and Jack Sountis assisted on Cromwell’s first goal of the third period. The other two goals by the Crusaders were unassisted.
North Rockland wasn’t finished scoring yet as John Gormley and Gregg Grange hit or the Raiders. Jack Guerra
assisted on the Gormley goal, while Sean Finnerty helped set up the Grange goal.
While it was a physical game, it was also clean as there were only two penalties assessed to Paul McKeon from the Crusaders for hooking and roughing in the second and third periods, respectively.
In speaking with Raiders’ head coach Gary Dworkowitz after the game he said, “Doing this with Coach “A” is very special to me because he’s a guy who gets it and there’s no one else I’d rather collaborate on this with.
“There’s a lot that goes into making this game a success every year and I’m thankful to everyone who helped to contribute,” Dworkowitz said. “The game is secondary — it’s more about bringing toys to children who are battling various illnesses as well as their siblings. It is important to provide a sense of normalcy to the families during the Holiday Season too. This goes beyond the game. It’s our own little place in the hockey world. It’s become personal and we’re very fortunate to participate.”
Written By Travis W. Jackson / @travjax71
Special to HockeyClan
Five Minute Major Podcast / #HVpucks
Images courtesy of Travis Jackson and the team’s twitter accounts.
HockeyClan continues to upgrade its apps to benefit their growing hockey community.
Want to write about hockey? Join the HockeyClan community! While you are here visiting Rate Rinks! You can rate every rink you have ever been to based on the most important criteria. Interested in doing your own Player’s Blog? Send your hockey story to us at firstname.lastname@example.org