BREWSTER, N.Y. – Lucas Prestamo went from being the only freshman to make the John Jay-Cross River varsity hockey team to becoming a major contributor.
Prestamo had three assists Sunday as John Jay defeated Rye, 5-1, in the Division 2 title game at the Brewster Ice Arena.
It was John Jay’s first Section 1 hockey title. The Indians advance to a New York State Championship quarterfinal on Tuesday. John Jay will play Section 2 champion Queensberry in Albany.
“I’ve had a lot of help from the seniors along the way,” said Prestamo, who has seven goals and 15 assists this season. “Being the only freshman on the team, I wanted to perform well and help the team out.”
John Jay coach Alex Smith realized early on that Prestamo was ready for varsity.
“Lucas is more mature as a hockey player than his grade,” said Smirh, a 1980 Rye graduate. “He’s played at a high level and has been in these games before.”
Smith pointed out an outstanding defensive play that Prestamo made in the first period. The game was scoreless and Rye was on a power play. The puck was inching slowly back to the point when Prestamo laid out and poked the puck out of the zone before a Rye defenseman could keep it in.
“Lucas is the consummate team player,” Smith said. “He does whatever he needs to do to help the team win.”
After Prestamo aided in killing off Rye’s power play in the first period, he was instrumental in John Jay's converting with the man advantage at 1:51 of the second period.
Mark Leprine, who had two goals, had the puck at the left-wing point. He feathered a pass across the ice to Prestamo on the right wing. Prestamo saw Shawn Smith wide open in front of the net and put a perfect pass on his stick. Smith converted to double up John Jay’s lead to 2-0.
“Mark made a perfect pass to me down low, and when I saw Shawn wide open, it was a bang-bang play,” Prestamo said.
Prestamo was receiving congratulations from his coaches and peers after the game. The big smile on his face broadened when he discussed the championship.
“Words can’t describe it,” Prestamo said of the team’s championship. “It’s a great feeling.”