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Top seeds advance, two upsets in Nassau hockey semis
It was a crazy Sunday in Nassau hockey.
In the one-game elimination semifinal round, No. 3 Massapequa shocked No. 2 Long Beach, 3-2, to reach the Michelino Division final, while No. 3 Oceanside upset No. 2 Levittown-Island Trees, 5-4, to advance to the Liberty Division final.
Both top seeds in Michelino and Liberty also advanced, as No. 1 East Williston-Jericho shutout No. 4 Bellmore-Merrick, 5-0, in Michelino and No. 1 Lynbrook-East Rockaway beat No. 4 Garden City, 7-3, in Liberty.
The two best-of-three championship series begin tonight, as Massapequa will take on East Williston-Jericho at Newbridge at 9:10 p.m., and Oceanside will battle Lynbrook-East Rockaway at Cantiague at 9:30 p.m.
Both series will continue Tuesday and conclude Wednesday if a third game is necessary.
Oceanside’s 5-4 win puts the Sailors back in the Liberty championships series with a chance to defend their league title, despite a challenging season.
With most of its team displaced by superstorm Sandy and with its practice arena in Long Beach also severely damaged by the storm, Oceanside had an up-and-down season, finishing 7-6-1.
The Sailors started the season 4-6, including an 8-3 loss to Levittown-Island Trees on Nov. 27, but closed the year on a four-game unbeaten streak.
“We had a rough season,” Oceanside coach Bill Clark said. “We had lost to [Levittown-Island Trees] horribly during the season but my boys have been on a roll the last couple of games and are starting to gel just like last year. It wasn’t good for us in the middle of the year but it’s looking good now.”
In Sunday’s win, Ryan Steimel scored a hat trick and Michael Jennings had two goals. Steimel’s third goal midway through the third period made it 5-3, as Oceanside withstood an extra Levittown-Island Trees attacker in the final minute to advance to the Liberty finals.
The win also gives Oceanside a bid to the NYSCSH Open Division Championships in Williamsville.
Massapequa had also lost badly to its semifinal opponent earlier this season in a 5-1 loss to Long Beach on Jan. 16.
But Sunday Massapequa bounced back to advance to the Michelino finals and secure a bid to the NYSCSH Large School Division Championships in Jamestown—the state tournament it won last season.
“It shocked me.” Massapequa coach Tony DeMayo said of Sunday’s win. “We hadn’t even thought about booking a bus or hotels or anything so we have to scramble, but we’re happy to do it.”
Massapequa led 2-0 in the second period, Sunday, but a Long Beach goal with 1.5 seconds left in the period gave the Marines momentum heading into the third.
That was quickly thwarted, however, when Gary Stocker put home the eventual game-winner early in the third as he sprinted out of the penalty box following a Long Beach powerplay and scored on a breakaway to make it 3-1.
Massapequa goalie Dana DeMartino made key saves throughout to lead the Chiefs.
“The kids did everything I asked them to do and Dana stood on her head,” DeMayo said. “It was like they won the county championship. No doubt about it, it was an upset.”