RYE, N.Y. – Senior Michael Benincasa sat down with Rye varsity hockey coach Jason Friesen prior to the season to discuss his role in 2012-2013.
“Coach Friesen wanted me to lead the team to victories and be a dominant player on both ends of the ice,” Benincasa said.
Benincasa has done both, leading the team with 10 goals and eight assists as Rye sports a 7-1-1 record. Benincasa’s performance makes him The Rye Daily Voice Athlete of the Month for December.
The Garnets are playing well despite a fluctuating practice schedule and the lack of a home rink, after Hurricane Sandy forced the shutdown of Playland Ice Casino because of water damage.
“It’s taken us a little longer to click without playing at Playland and having crazy practice slots,” Benincasa said. “We feel good about the way we are playing and we want to keep getting better with every game.”
Benincasa is in his fourth varsity hockey season and third as the center on the No. 1 line. He is skating on the first line this season with new wingers – Connor McGovern and Danny Sullivan.
“There are games where I feel that I played like I was capable of playing and there are games where I don’t feel that I played like I was capable of playing,” Benincasa said. “As a captain, I put pressure on myself to play well and get everyone involved.”
Benincasa, who double shifts and will center the third line during games, said Rye’s resiliency has carried it to victories. He cited a 4-2 win over Mamaroneck, in which the Garnets trailed 2-0, and a 6-5 overtime win over White Plains. Benincasa said Rye trailed throughout that game.