Spotlight on Two Teams in AAU Hockey Program
Originally posted in NewsDay Long Island.
Written by: IAN CUTLER email@example.com
There's no doubt that Long Beach's hockey team has been tested off the ice, but to this point in the season it hadn't been tested much on it.
The defending Michelino Division and state AAU small school division champion had played just one team with a winning record through its first seven contests. Long Beach won each of them while also dealing with the aftermath of superstorm Sandy. Its home arena is not available for practices or games -- it was wrecked by the storm.
Wednesday night, though, the Marines beat Michelino rival and reigning state AAU large school division champion Massapequa, 5-1, proving they're still up for any challenge on the ice, too.
"We had three tryouts early on and haven't been on the ice since except for our games so we're still trying to see who plays well with who," Long Beach coach Joe Brand said. "We're fortunate that we had an easier part of the schedule in the beginning and got by it, but every time we match up with Massapequa we know what we're in for."
"We lost our home rink, most of our players lost their homes and are living other places like I am, and it's been tough," Long Beach goalie Mark Zapson said. "It means a lot that we keep winning."
Long Beach (8-0) broke away in a tension-filled second period at the Town of Oyster Bay Ice Skating Center in Bethpage, after Rob Delury had given the Marines a 1-0 lead after one.
A scrum broke out in front of Zapson early in the second, resulting in a player from each team being ejected and a two-man power-play advantage for Massapequa (8-2-1). But Long Beach's Jake Brown scored 30 seconds later on a shorthanded breakaway by deking to his backhand to make it 2-0.
Delury scored his second goal a few minutes later to make it 3-0 after two, and Chas McAvoy gave Long Beach a 5-0 lead with two goals in the third period.
"The breakaway was a big goal shorthanded and the third goal that Delury scored, you could just tell we [settled down] with a 3-0 lead," Brand said. "Those were huge goals."
Massapequa's Dana DeMartino, the only female goalie in the league, made 38 saves.