Lynbrook-East Rockaway reflects on Liberty Division title repeat
With the puck on his stick in overtime of the most important game of the season, Greg Hendrickson was ready for destiny.
Lynbrook-East Rockaway's center and leading goal scorer flew up the ice from his own blue line last Wednesday, deked a defender and then went one-on-one with Levittown-Hicksville goaltender Matt King.
A goal in this special tiebreaker game would give the Owls their second consecutive Liberty Division title in the High School Hockey League of Nassau County.
"To be in that spot, with the game on the line, it was definitely a great moment," Hendrickson said. "I didn't see what happened right away, but I heard the cheering and the banging of the sticks.
"I don't get to play in front of my family, teammates and friends as often as I'd like because of travel hockey, so to hear that noise was just fantastic," said Hendrickson, whose 23rd goal of the season camewith 31 seconds remaining in the four-on-four overtime. "I saw he was out of the crease, but he was right in front of me, so I couldn't see it right away."
It was a remarkable ending for Lynbrook-East Rockaway, which had lost, 5-2, earlier that night to force a 12-minute mini-game to settle the championship. After the scoreless 12-minute extra period came the four-on-four sudden death overtime period.
"We got back to what we've been doing all year, which is to get pucks deep, get behind the defense and create offense with our playmakers," said L-ER coach Frank Leone, who was referring to his top line of Hendrickson and right wing Ross Kleinschmidt and left wing Justin Leone. "I felt they were the best line of the night."
Joe Quinn and Taylor Trenkle were key in keeping the Levittown-Hicksville in it. Trenkle had two goals and an assist, while Quinn also scored in Levittown-Hicksville's 5-4 defeat in Game 1 two nights earlier. In Game 2, Quinn had two assists. Trenkle led the league in points (49) with 26 goals and 23 assists.
Brett Epstein (8-1, 2.62 GAA) won both games in net for the Owls, while King (11-2-2, 2.84 GAA) was "very strong knowing that his team's season was on the line," Hendrickson said.
"We all kept telling each other that we'll get it, we knew what we had," said Hendrickson, who had 15 assists to finish with 38 points, fourth best in the league. "We couldn't have had a better season. Everybody contributed."