For the third time in four years, Long Beach captured the High School Hockey League of Nassau County’s Michelino Division championship and will compete in the state tournament.
The Marines took the best-of-three finals in two hard-fought games against Massapequa earlier this month. They won Game 1, 2-1, and Game 2, 5-4, on a double-overtime goal by Evan Schwartz after the Chiefs tied it with two seconds remaining in regulation.
“We figured out a way to get it done,” Long Beach head coach Joe Brand said. “We made it more interesting than we wanted to, but no matter how it happens it feels great to win.
“We were a little down heading into overtime after leading by two goals with about six-and-a-half minutes left, but the kids were able to refocus and got the winning goal,” he added.
Just like the NHL, overtime featured four skaters on each side. But, unlike the NHL there is no shootout. After the first five-minute OT it becomes three-on-three and that’s when Long Beach struck. “I sent our best three players on the ice to start the second overtime,” said Brand, referring to senior captains Schwartz, Kieran Hurley and Tom McGovern. “I’d put those guys up against anyone in the league. We got the puck deep and Schwartz circled out of the corner with it, took a few strides to the face-off circle and let a shot rip and ‘bang’ it was over.”
The championship-clinching goal completed a hat trick for Schwartz, who along with Hurley has led Long Beach’s offense all season. Tim Hoarty and Richard Guido also found the net. Goaltender Marc Pittinsky, who started all three playoff games, made close to 20 saves.