Pelham Pelicans vs. Carmel Rams – The Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon.
On Saturday, November 25, 2017, I was at The Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon, N.Y. for the Pelham Pelicans home opener and 2017 New York State DII Championship Banner raising celebration.
This was indeed a long time coming for this team and community who had seen their squad make the trip up to States five previous times, only to fall just short of their collective goal. Led by coach, Ed Witz, the Pelicans captured 10 Section 1, Division 2 titles, including four straight between 2014-2017.
Leading up to their first NYS Championship, the Pelicans went 25-1, with their first loss coming at the hands of rival Suffern to open the 2016-2017 season. The boys then buckled down and never looked back. They won their state title in dominating fashion, by dispatching Brockport, 6-0, in the Semifinals and St. Lawrence, 7-1, in the Final. I flew up to Buffalo to witness “History in the Making” so I only felt it fitting I be in the house to celebrate along with Coach Witz, his staff, players and members of “Pelham Nation” again.
It was “Standing Room Only” as the entire community came out to watch the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. The festivities started several hours earlier with the Pelicans annual “Alumni Game.” Then came the banner raising, followed by a live rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” sung by the sister of senior captain, Tim Solimine.
Finally, it was time for puck drop!
In the end, Pelham skated to a 1-1 overtime tie with the Carmel Rams. Senior forward Alex McLean scored early for the Pelicans in the second period at the 1:49 mark off an assist from Connor Evans, while senior forward Nick Smith scored an unassisted goal for the Rams with 2:14 remaining in regulation. Shots on goal were 37-16 in favor of the Pelicans.
Even though only two goals were scored, it was an incredibly entertaining game!
Both goalies stood tall. However, it was senior goaltender Willow Barnes who stopped all eight shots she faced in overtime. While not really tested for long stretches when called upon, junior goaltender Liam Ronan made the saves.
As we drop the puck on another high school hockey season in Section 1, the Pelicans can finally say #MissionAccomplished! I’m glad I was able to be there!
Written By Travis W. Jackson / @travjax71
Special to HockeyClan
Main image courtesy of Travis W. Jackson, Five Minute Major
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