The Rye Town Harrison Titans lost to the Scarsdale Raiders 7-5 in a game at Playland Ice Casino that featured several lead changes and ties.
The Titans had a difficult time containing Raiders' forward Matt Oliverio.
"They have a very skilled player and we couldn't stop him," said Titans Co-Head Coach Steve Forzaglia. "He was too good."
Raiders Coach Mancuso was proud of the performance of Oliverio, the only senior on the team.
"He really leads by example," Mancuso said.
Oliverio scored four out of seven goals for the Raiders in a win that earned them a playoff berth with five games left in the season. Rye Town Harrison has three games left on its schedule.
The Titans and the Raiders battled back and forth throughout the first period. Sophomore Jake Bank tallied the Raiders' first point with just under 12 minutes left, scoring unassisted on a straight shot from the left side of the pipes. Titan Tyler Ketchabaw would then tie the game on assists by Kevin Fusco and Sal Giacomo. The Titans would go up 2-1 at 5:21 on a goal by Dean Brancucci but Raiders forward Eric Staropoli would tie the game at 2-2 with 3:19 to play on an assist by Oliverio and Ian Klein.
Kirk Holmes would then put the Titans ahead 3-2 on assists from Ketchabaw and Matt Baer. However, Oliverio tied the game again, scoring his first power play goal from the other end of the ice with under two minutes to play in the period.
Both teams made their defensive presence felt in the second period. With under three minutes to play, the Titans' Giacomo put the team ahead 4-3 as the puck slid in and out 0f the crease before passing into the net.
A motivated Oliverio tied it again at the 2:43 mark, powering his way into Titan territory on another unassisted score.
Scarsdale continued their dominance into the third, pulling ahead 5-4 on another goal by Oliverio. The Titans would tie it with 1:48 to go in the game on a goal by Kevin Fusco. The Raiders then went ahead 6-5 on a goal by Oliverio. Travis Masarti would seal the deal for the Raiders and the 7-5 playoff-clinching victory at 27.4 seconds left, when Titan Senior Goalie Paul Nadasi was removed from competition so that his team could add an extra skater on the ice.
The Titans were burdened by the large amount of penalties called against them. Despite these struggles, Forzaglia said his team played a good game.
Mancuso said the Raiders were resilient throughout the game.
"They beat us on every loose puck," Mancuso said. "We didn't give up when they tied it up late in the third."
Rye Town Harrison had 47 shots on goal in the loss compared to Scarsdale's 36.
The Titans had more shots on goal in every period; 13 in the first compared to the Raiders' 10, 18 in the second compared to the Raiders' 12, and 16 in the third compared to the Raiders' 14.
Rye Town Harrison next plays at home next Monday against Mount Pleasant. Scarsdale plays New Rochelle away at the Hutchinson Ice Arena.