Week 2 MHR Clanko Media Weekend Wrap
Our first MHR Clanko Media featured Games of the Week included highly ranked 16U and 18U USA Tier 1 Boys teams and was played at the University of Connecticut’s Toscano Family Ice Forum, home of the NCAA Division I UConn Huskies men’s and women’s teams. The games were played Sept. 30.
Both contests pitted the Long Island Gulls against the New Jersey Rockets Hockey Club. The Gulls entered the weekend as the second-ranked USA 16U Tier 1 team and were ranked seventh at the 18U level, while the Rockets were No. 21 and No. 11, at 16U and 18U, respectively.
“My players and staff are extremely excited to be able to play a game at a venue like UConn,” Rockets Midget Hockey Director Noel Rubin said. “And to play the Gulls 16/18 teams, who are always among the top teams in the country, makes it more exciting and more difficult. My goal always is to play the best possible competition, win lose or draw. That’s the only way we will get better.”
The Rockets and Gulls traditionally are two of the top youth programs in the New York-New Jersey area, the Northeast and the United States. At the Tier 1 level this season, the Gulls had teams ranked among nation’s top 10 at the 18U, 16U and 15U age groups, and their 2010 team is No. 27. Meanwhile, the Rockets had three teams at those age levels ranked between Nos. 5 and 13, with a fourth team sitting at No. 21.
"The Gulls organization is excited to play a top team like the Rockets Saturday, and adding the college venue and coaches enhances the player and staff excitement," said Gulls 18U Head Coach Mark Lotito. "We are always looking to challenge our players, and playing the Rockets will do just that. As an organization, we want our players to compete in games like this on a regular basis as we believe that is what best prepares them for success later on in the season."
These two clubs also compete against each other in the Northeast Pack, one of the top youth leagues in the U.S. for 14U through 18U Tier 1 boys teams.
Here is a recap of our Week 1 Games of the Week:
MHR CLANKO MEDIA FEATURED GAMES OF THE WEEK
USA Boys 18U Tier 1
#11 New Jersey Rockets Hockey Club (3), #7 Long Island Gulls (2)
Saturday, Sept. 30 at 12:45 p.m.
University of Connecticut Toscano Family Ice Forum
These two New York metro rivals met for the second time this season, with several more matchups on tap in the future. They entered the game very evenly matched, as the Gulls were 12-5-2 with a 56-37 scoring advantage against their opponents, while the Rockets were 12-5-1 with a 55-37 scoring advantage over their foes. Long Island won the first matchup between the teams by a 2-1 margin Sept. 9 in a Northeast Pack league contest.
The Rockets defeated the Gulls, 3-2, in this Sept. 30 showdown at the Toscano Family Ice Forum on the campus of the University of Connecticut.
New Jersey jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Jett Kremer and Maxwell Pendy, with both players demonstrating tremendous eye-hand coordination on their tallies. Kremer swatted home Ryan Lukko's rebound out of mid-air, but not to be outdone, Pendy deflected Lukko's belt-high shot past helpless Gulls goalie Willum Braun to make it 2-0.
Long Island rallied to tie the game on goals by Joey Marcina and Thomas Zocco, with Marcina and William Tomko picking up assists, but New Jersey would squeeze home the game-winner when Michael Schmelzer's shot found its way through Braun's pads after a pretty no-look backhand feed by Porter Byrd-Leitner.
Jason Cai earned the win in goal for the Rockets, but Braun snuffed out numerous high-danger chances from New Jersey while his team pushed up looking to even the score late in the game.
USA Boys 16U Tier 1
#2 Long Island Gulls (3), # 21 New Jersey Rockets Hockey Club (2)
Saturday, Sept. 30 at 2:30 p.m.
University of Connecticut Toscano Family Ice Forum
The second game of the doubleheader at UConn featured the second-ranked 16U Gulls, who entered the weekend with an 11-5-1 record, and the No. 21 Rockets, who were 8-8-1. New Jersey knocked off Long Island, 3-0, Sept. 9 in their previous meeting.
The Gulls rallied from 1--0 and 2-1 deficits to earn a 3-2 victory over the Rockets Sept. 30 at the University of Connecticut's Toscano Family Ice Forum.
New Jersey jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Daniel Hussa fed Christian Mamera on the doorstep. Rockets goalie Matthew Minchak turned aside several Long Island scoring opportunities before the Gulls finally broke through after Jesse Orlowsky scooped up a loose puck at the Rockets' blue line and powered in from the right wing before beating Minchak with a slick deke to even the score.
New Jersey pushed back in front, 2-1, when Dante Rodriguez's power-play centering feed banked off a defenseman and into the net. Poul Andersen tied it at 2 for Long Island not long after that when he potted a spin-around shot after Malachi McKinnon's initial offering was knocked down by the defense.
The game-winner for Long Island came off the stick of Brendan Defeo, who took a pass from Jordan Sirota in the high slot on 2-on-2 rush and fired a shot off of Minchak and into the net. Marko Lisica won a battle at Long Island's blue line to set up the opportunity and help make a winner out of goalie Ryan Cameron.