NYS hockey playoff preview: M-W vs. Suffern

It seemed inevitable when the season started and after months of practices, road trips and games, it has come to pass.

Monroe-Woodbury and Suffern will meet in the quarterfinal round of the New York State Division I playoffs yet again.

New York State Division I ice hockey quarterfinal
Sat. March 3, 6:00 p.m., Sport-O-Rama, Monsey
Monroe-Woodbury (16-2-2, Section 9, No. 11 NYS) vs. Suffern (19-2-2, Section 1, No. 3 NYS)

Zack Zielinski is a senior goalie for Monroe-Woodbury. (Times Herald-Record file photo)

Monroe-Woodbury had just one game to win to clinch a berth in the state playoffs, beating Newburgh Free Academy 7-1 on Saturday.

Suffern, on the other hand, had to play in three playoff games in Section 1, including Sunday’s victory over Eastchester-Tuxedo-Bronxville at West Point’s Tate Rink.

Last season, Monroe-Woodbury lost twice to Suffern in last three weeks of the season. The first was 4-1 in a regular season game and the second was a 5-0 in the state quarterfinals.

On Dec. 9, Suffern beat the Crusaders 6-0. The only other team to beat M-W this year was Glens Falls, the No. 14 ranked team in Division II.

Suffern lost to West Genesee (the No. 1 team in the state) and Massena (ranked No. 4).

If you’re looking for more information on Suffern, Section1hockey.com has you covered, with schedules and team stats.

This Monroe-Woodbury team has come out of nowhere a little bit this year, especially after losing its top line from a season ago: “I’ve been pleasantly surprised,” head coach Paul Bascardi said in January before the team won game No. 300 in program history. “They’ve really gelled and are playing together well. The defense has stepped up and (Nick) Bickerstaff and (Brian) Mulligan are really the anchors of the whole program.”

Then again, this team does have three-year starter Zack Zielinski in net, which is a huge plus come playoff time.

Still, history points to Suffern in this game, no doubt about that.

We’ll have a preview story later this week in the paper as well as on varsity845.com. In the meantime, I’ll be providing Section 9 basketball updates this week on Twitter: @THR_Montgomery.

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