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Dump and chase still working for Long Beach boys ice hockey
The Long Beach way of playing boys ice hockey is very simple.
"We like to get the puck deep and get it behind the other team's defensemen," Marines' 16th year coach Joe Brand said. "Just forecheck real hard and take that puck back."
In other words, Long Beach plays the dump and chase game. And who can argue with that? The Marines (12-1-1) are currently in first place in the small school and overall standings in the High School Hockey League of Nassau County.
"We've been playing that style for years," Brand said. "We keep things very simple when we play and that's it."
When the Marines are at their best, there are a couple of "very high-end guys that are capable of scoring anytime they are on the ice," Brand said.
Look no further than Evan Schwartz and Kieran Hurley. Schwartz and Hurley are co-captains that make things happen offensively on the same top line at right wing and center, respectively.
"Together, we move the puck well, and that's because we know where the other one is at at all times," Schwartz said. "We try and set up and slow the play down, so that opportunities present itself."
But when it's time to dump and chase, Schwartz is all for it.
"I believe it's good for us," Schwartz said. "We have enough fast guys to take advantage of it, but we can also take it in and set it up ourselves."
Brand called Schwartz and Hurley "electric and pure goal scorers", but he doesn't want either top player, or any Marines player, to be thinking about individual stats.
"The only two columns that we concern ourselves with are the wins column and the goals-against column," Brand said. "As long as one is up, and the other is down, we're doing alright."
Co-captain defenseman Thomas McGovern and junior goalie Marc Pittinsky have made Brand's coaching life a lot easier. Whereas McGovern does it all as a slick puckhandler, Pittinsky has a knack for making the big saves in the big moment.
Brand and the Marines have three games remaining in the regular season and take on Friends Academy next at 9:30 p.m. Mon. Jan. 27 at Cantiague Park in Hicksville.