Ice Hockey: The Garnets have a new assistant coach, Sal Curella, and a great outlook on the season.
By Melanie Cane
The Garnets have a new assistant coach, Sal Curella, and a great outlook on the season. Curella replaces Peter Thomas, who assumed the head coaching position at Harrison.
A Buffalo native, Curella has been skating since he was 3. He was part of the Playmaker program out of Ontario, which gave him the opportunity to play alongside many of today’s NHL players.
While new to Rye High’s hockey program, Curella is not new to the school. He’s taught engineering and technology at Rye Middle and High schools for the past four years. When the opportunity arose to become part of Rye’s hockey program, Curella said, “I was ecstatic. Not only was this a chance to work with the players and share my knowledge, but also to be able to work under Coach Friesen as a student of the game. He has a great hockey mind and I’m looking forward to learning a lot as a new coach.”
Friesen is also looking forward to working with Curella and feels good about the team overall. With Playland Ice Rink still closed due to damage incurred by Hurricane Sandy, the Garnets will play the majority of their home games at the Ice Hutch in Mt. Vernon, with the remaining games at Hommocks ice rink in Mamaroneck. They will be practicing at those rinks, as well as at Rye Country Day, Dorothy Hamill in Greenwich, SoNo Ice House in Norwalk, and Chelsea Piers in Stamford. Friesen said, “I think practicing all over the place will have the same effect as last season. A little more of a grind, but positive over all.”
Senior Captains Jack O’Brien and Cal Hynson feel the team is as good, if not better, than last year’s with the return of several players who played for private schools last year. They are enjoying working with Coach Curella, “who knows a lot about the game and points out a lot of small things.”
Last year, the Garnets won the league championship, but lost in the section final. Friesen, O’Brien, and Hynson agree that the team’s goals are to win big games, the league title, as well as the section championship.
The players to watch this season are Hynson, O’Brien, Connor McGovern, Matt Holmes, Connor Hatch, Griffin Tutun, and Joseph Watanabe. Coach Friesen thinks the strength of the team will be their offense.
They played their first game on Wednesday, post-press time, at The Ice Hutch against Eastchester.
The Garnets team has been struggling to fill all their weight classes for years, and with only 15 wrestlers on this year’s team, their struggle continues. There are two freshmen on the team, Paul Devlin and Jason Ehrlich.
Coach Matt Beatty says he has a “great group of guys” and they realized years ago that winning as a team is nearly impossible with so many forfeits. So, they have shifted their focus from winning meets to creating individual goals for each athlete to work toward.
The four senior captains and standouts are Walter Florio, Brian Gardner, Fritz Zahringer, and Alex Raynor. Raynor and Zahringer were captains last season as well. Coach Beatty says all the captains have been working very hard and he expects them to win. Raynor agrees, saying they earned the distinction of captain because, “We have put in the work and it shows every day.” Another competitor who is expected to do well is sophomore Franklin Goldzer, who had a great year last year.
Their first match is against Beacon in a home tournament on December 7.
Super Storm Sandy caused the cancellation of the US Squash High School Nationals last year, truncating the season for Rye High’s boys’ and girls’ teams and disappointing many a fine player. Almost by way of compensation, in that funny way the universe sometimes does things, the girls’ team got a huge gift this year — freshman Caroline Naeve, a highly ranked Junior National player. Another great addition to the team is Clarissa Carson-Rose, who just moved to Rye and is a junior. They will play number one and two respectively.
The full team is comprised of 28 girls split into three teams: Team 1, Team 2, and JV. The varsity captains are Courtney Colwell, Stephanie Mullane, and Serena Bradt. They practice at Westchester Country Club, Club 800, and NYSC in White Plains.
Team 1 opens their season against Holy Child December 6 at Westchester Country Club.
The Garnets got off to a slow start last year, adjusting to a new coach, Dennis Hurlie, and one another. But towards the end of the season, they turned a corner, becoming the team to beat.
Coach Hurlie thinks the team will hit the ground running this year. “We will carry on with the momentum we established at the end of last season and continued to build on in basketball camp this summer,” said Hurlie.
Hurlie has a new assistant coach, Joe Carlucci, a Rye High School graduate, a Physical Education teacher at Rye Neck, and a longtime friend of his. Together, they are working with a lot of returning players, including the three senior captains, Rachel Egan, Alanna Morque, and Hannah Billingsley. The fourth senior on the team is Holly Tice. The four seniors will lead the four juniors, four sophomores, and one freshman, Katie Popp. Popp joined the team as an eighth grader when she was called up for the playoffs, and she was the top scorer in their November 26 scrimmage against Ursuline and tied for top scorer against Henry Hudson on November 30. Sophomore Maddie Eck and junior Laura Ann Pacos will join the captains for the starting line-up. With players like Popp, Tice, and juniors Payton Emery and Swedish newcomer Ellen Bjorkegren on the bench, the talent runs deep.
Their first game is December 6 at The Hackley Tournament.