A total of 18 varsity teams take part in the New York Islanders High School Hockey League (NYIHSHL), the league that encompasses boys ice hockey. One of those clubs is Valley Stream/Sewanhaka/Lynbrook, which is looking to build off an eighth-place finish last season and make an even deeper playoff run this month.
The team finished 8-8-0 last season and suffered a first-round loss. Now, the Storm are sitting in third place with a 13-3-0 record and have been a force to be reckoned with in 2022-23.
“We’ve certainly grown as a team,” head coach Peter Mastrota said. “We’ve added some new players that were not with us last season and we have some legitimate talent on this team.”
This season, the Storm is led by senior captain Ian Heiss, one of many players who was not on the team last season. The All-Star forward leads the way in assists (16) and points (32), but his work ethic is what resonates with his fellow teammates.
“He’s giving it everything he’s got every single shift,” Mastrota said. “He’s set a good example and the whole team has bought into that.”
Like the team, Joseph Marrone has also seen improved success, particularly on offense. Marrone, one of three alternate captains, ranks second on the team in goals (15) after scoring eight times last season. The senior credits this success to his linemate, Heiss, who he’s developed chemistry with this season.
“I devote a lot of my points to Heiss,” Marrone said. “I’m able to pass to him a lot and he can work his magic.”
Rounding out the leadership group for the Storm is junior Nicholas Naumov and senior Joe Sansone. Naumov is another forward who is new to the team this season whereas Sansone was recently named the team’s third alternate captain due to his work ethic.
“He (Naumov) has really taken off and is consistently reliable every game,” Mastrota said. “He (Sansone) sets a real strong tone and is our only defenseman with a letter.”
Another big name that Valley Stream/Sewanhaka/Lynbrook has added to the club is defenseman Aidan Seegal. The all-star leads all defensemen on the team with three power play assists and 14 points.
“He’s really filled up our blueline,” Mastrota said. “He’s got an offensive power to him, plays very smart defense and is just an incredibly talented player.”
Seegal’s brother, Andrew, is one of two goaltenders for the team along with Connor Mongan. Both goalies can be trusted on a nightly basis for the Storm and have played a big part in its season.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to share the goaltending,” Mastrota said. “They’ve really brought a special confidence to this team.”
After starting 2-2, the Storm went on an 11-game winning streak and clinched a playoff spot in late January.
“The consistent message is constantly improving,” Mastrota said. “They want to get better and are buying into that.”