MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Josh Kriss recalled that February night when, as a seventh-grader, he waited on line for 20 minutes to enter the Hommocks Park Ice Rink for a Mamaroneck varsity hockey game.
“Mamaroneck was playing Massena in a state quarterfinal,” said the Mamaroneck senior and captain. “The place was packed, and I remember thinking to myself that I can’t wait for an opportunity like this to happen to me.”
Mamaroneck is one step away from a moment like that. The third-seeded Tigers will play top seed and defending state champion Suffern in the Section 1 Division 1 hockey final at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Brewster Ice Arena. This is Mamaroneck’s first sectional final appearance since it was a state finalist in 2009.
The winner will host the Section 2 champion in a state quarterfinal on Saturday, March 2. If Mamaroneck wins, the game will be at the Hommocks Ice Rink.
The teams split their regular-season set, with Mamaroneck winning at home, 4-3, and Suffern prevailing at Sport-O-Rama, 3-2.
Kriss and his 10 teammates have spent their hockey lives playing at Hommocks. Kriss said he started skating when he was 4. Three years later, many of the current Mamaroneck High School players were teammates as 7-year-olds.
The thought of playing one more game at Hommocks would be welcomed. It also would cement this team’s place in the tradition-rich program.
“When you’re a kid you want to play for coach Chiapparelli,” Kriss said of veteran coach Mike Chiapparelli. “Mamaroneck has such a rich tradition, and it’s because of coach Chiapparelli.”
Chiapparelli has guided Mamaroneck to 12 sectional finals and won six titles.
Kriss said the regular-season series went the way it should have, with two good teams each winning on their home ice. Kriss said that in the Tigers’ 3-2 loss, they learned from a lapse in concentration.
“We had a six-minute stretch in the second period where we stopped playing with intensity, and that’s when Suffern scored two goals to go up 3-1,” said Kriss, who will attend Northwestern University in the fall. “When you play a good team like Suffern, you have to play a full 45 minutes.”