Hockey Crowned State ChampsWednesday, March 30, 2011 By Joseph LaRosa
After finishing third at states last year, the Long Beach Hockey Team had yet another season filled with victory and large crowds. Only this time, they finished first. Led by Senior Captain Keegan Travers and Senior Brian O’Sullivan, the Marines have captured the Suffolk County Championship as well as the New York State Championship. Facing Hudson Valley’s Arlington Admirals for the State Championship, the Marines found themselves in a hole in game one. Down 7-4 in the third period, the Marines scored four consecutive goals, none more important than Evan Schwartz’ game tying goal with four minutes remaining. After their little wake up call, and the return of Travers, the Marines had no difficulty in game two. After the game was tied 1-1 early in the first period, the Marines scored five unanswered goals and captured the New York State Championship. Sophomore J.T. Forkin lead the team with a hat trick. Travers has been on the team for four years now, and was looking forward to leading the team to a championship this year. When asked about how it felt to be captain, he was quoted saying "Being captain means everything to me. When you wear the C, you have a big responsibility to represent the program. While I’m a vocal leader, it’s more important that you lead by example." In the net stands Junior Harris Pittinsky, and at only 5’5, is a tremendous part of the game. In a game that was aired on MSG Varsity with 375 people in attendance, he let up only four goals to Connetquot-Sayville, who at the time had twenty points, only two points out of first place. Harris was brilliant, stopping breakaways and many shots from point-blank range. Head coach Joe Brand was quoted saying "Harris was solid in the opening period, and bailed us out a few times. Our team is built on momentum, firepower, and emotion. If we fall behind, we tend to press, and guys try to do too much." In the very same game, Travers led the team with a hat trick and to another victory for the Marines. The Marines have much more firepower, including Senior Defensemen Hunter O’Neill, Sophomore J.T. Forkin, Senior Jimmy Diamond and Junior Jake Shapiro. Forkin, a Left-Wing who has been on the team for two years now, is a big part of the team and provides great agility and willpower. Diamond, who took on a big role while Travers was out with a knee injury earlier in the season, netted four in the Marines most recent meeting with Middle Country. Diamond lead the team in goals. At the end of March, the Marines will travel to Bensenville, Illinois, where they will compete in the USA Hockey High School National Championship, where they will face their toughest competition thus far, and have the chance to bring home the largest trophy the school has yet to see.