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Long Beach cruises to Michelino title

Different league, same result.

Long Beach returned to the High School Hockey League of Nassau County this season after winning a championship in Suffolk last year, and kept up its winning ways by sweeping Syosset in the Michelino Finals to earn another league championship.

Evan Schwartz scored a hat trick and Tom McGovern had five assists as Long Beach scored five powerplay goals and dominated Syosset Wednesday in Bethpage, winning game two of the best-of-three series, 10-1.

Long Beach took the first game of the series Tuesday, 4-2.

“This is huge to win a championship like this,” Schwartz said. “The hat trick just means so much to me in this kind of a game.”

The Marines put an end to Syosset’s hopes early, taking over the latter half of the first period by scoring four unanswered goals to go ahead 5-1 at the first intermission. The score was tied at one when Schwartz scored his first of three powerplay goals at 7:47, receiving a centering pass from Nolan Pues in the left corner. Rob Delury scored twice in the period and Pues and McGovern each recorded multiple assists to help put the Marines well out in front.

“We just took advantage of the open ice and scored when we had the chance,” Schwartz said.

In the second, Long Beach picked up where it left off and scored two more powerplay goals early in the period, as Schwartz tallied his second of the night and JT Forkin netted his first. The Marines went up 8-1 with 1:30 left in the second when a puck snuck past Syosset goalie Danny DeSilva and sat untouched in the crease for Jake Brown to control and burry into the back of the net.

“We know where to put the puck and we know how to finish it,” McGovern said. “The powerplay was big, obviously.”

In the third, McGovern picked up his fifth assist on JT Forkin’s second goal, and Schwartz completed his hat trick with his third powerplay goal of the night. Goalie Harris Pittinsky held Nassau’s best offensive team to its lowest scoring output of the season and made an athletic save late that drew a wild reaction from the Long Beach crowd despite the nine-goal lead.

Syosset though still has the state tournament to look forward to, as the Braves qualified for the Large School State Championships on March 2 in Amherst, NY, by having the best record in the Michelino Division in the regular season.

Long Beach earned its first Michelino Championship since the 2005-2006 season. The squad was second in the Michelino Division in the regular season behind Syosset, finishing with a record of 16-4-1 for 33 points. The Marines are the defending Small-School New York State Champions, and will now look to defend their state title, as they’ll host the state tournament beginning March 2.

“That’d be the biggest thing to win the state championship. The biggest,” Schwartz said.

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