Sophomore Steve Santini – In the News

Sophomore Steve Santini was recently featured on the front page of The Journal News newspaper as well as online. Read the article below and be sure to “like” the story above to share it on Facebook.  See pictures by Mr. Bergmeier of their winning game over Lakeland/Panas HERE

(Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:00 AM)
Teammates in morning, foes at night: by Mike Dougherty mdougher@lohud.com

Richie Prunesti and Steven Santini don’t normally have time for idle chatter, but a head-to-head meeting on Sunday has inspired an extended conversation.

Richie Prunesti, left, and Steve Santini will be teammates Sunday morning and foes Sunday night.

They’ve actually been carrying on for months.

“I think as soon as the schedule came out we started making jokes,” said Santini, a sophomore at Kennedy Catholic and quite possibly the best defenseman in Section 1. “I keep telling him, ‘You better skate with your head up.’ ”

The headliners see a lot of each other during the hockey season.

“Big picture, it’s just another game,” said Prunesti, a senior at New Rochelle and most likely the best forward in Section 1. “But it’s really going to be a fun game.”

It’s not going to be an ordinary day by any stretch.

Prunesti and Santini will meet on the ice Sunday morning, too. They happen to be Junior A teammates and will be playing an 11 a.m. game on Long Island for the New York Apple Core, which are hosting the New England Huskies. There won’t be a lot of down time before they head for opposite locker rooms prior to the 8 p.m. non-league game between New Rochelle (8-1) and Kennedy/Putnam Valley (7-3-1) at Brewster Ice Arena.

The legs might be weary, but there will be enough adrenaline to make things interesting.

“It’s not going to be easy,” Santini said. “I’ll take a nap before the game, then get back on my feet, because I know Richie is going to be coming in fast.”

The Apple Core are also playing on Saturday.

Prunesti and Santini are the only team members on that roster still in high school. They not only have aspirations of playing at the next level, they have the necessary size and skills for which college scouts come looking.

They are students of the game, too.

“Richie is definitely a talented goal-scorer,” said Santini, who gave an oral commitment to Boston College last spring after his first varsity season. “Whenever there’s an opportunity around the net, he finishes. Richie is a playmaker, too, definitely a guy you want on your team. And his hands are probably the best in Section 1.”

Prunesti has 22 goals and 16 assists for the Huguenots. The baby-faced instigator has gotten a chance to watch Santini up close since the Apple Core began prepping for the season back in September, and he has yet to spot a weakness.

“He’s better than I am, I’m not going to lie,” said Prunesti, who’s going to continue playing juniors next year in hopes of locking up a Division I scholarship. “He’s a mature kid for his age. He’s got physical ability and mental capacity. That’s what you need to stand out in hockey. He’s got ’em both at a young age.”

Santini has 22 goals and four assists for Kennedy/Putnam Valley.

Most high school defensemen come looking for Prunesti, hoping to upend the section’s top scorer and prove they belong on the same ice. He’s usually forced to perform in traffic. Most nights, Santini has to go looking for somebody to hit.

Smart forwards learn quickly to avoid Santini, who is barn-door wide at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds.

“I’ve never been hit by him really hard because we don’t always go full speed in practice,” Prunesti said. “I have seen him knock some big kids around, though.”

The verbal jousting will probably stop when the game starts on Sunday night because talking isn’t a big part of either player’s game. And they aren’t particularly comfortable in the spotlight. Besides, it’s an important game for both schools.

“It’s a team battle first,” Prunesti said. “We’re not going to be talking a lot about who scored the most goals; we’re going to be talking about who won.”