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Islip rallies in fourth quarter to beat Comsewogue

Comsewogue's Richie Lacalandra, left, runs with Islip's Mike

Comsewogue's Richie Lacalandra, left, runs with Islip's Mike Bienkowski, who carries the ball, on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

All night long, in wind, chill and drizzle, Nick Barry did his job. He won the faceoff skirmishes, gave Islip possession, raced to the sideline and watched as time after time, Comsewogue goalie Tommy Heller did his job.

“There’s frustration, to a degree,” Barry said. “But we have a skilled group on offense and it’s always just a matter of time.”

The fourth quarter turned into Buccaneer time. Host Islip scored four straight goals to rally for a 7-5 victory Tuesday in a matchup of Suffolk II contenders. Barry won 13 of 16 faceoffs, including all the important ones during Islip’s winning surge that finally broke through the wall erected by Heller, who made 12 saves, several from point-blank range.

Ironically, it was one of his saves that led to the tie-breaking goal. Heller stood tall on a blast from Joe Juengerkes that caromed off his chest. Chris Giuliani snatched the ball out of midair and fired it home for a 6-5 lead with 1:31 left.

Then Barry won another faceoff and Islip called timeout to set up the offense so Mike Bienkowski could run off as much clock as possible and forced the Warriors to double-team. Sure enough, the double-team arrived, Bienkowski beat it with a dodge and scored into the empty net for the final goal. He netted two goals with two assists as Islip improved to 6-0. Sean Kennedy scored twice for Comsewogue (4-2).

“They played great defense, switched it up and found our shooters,” Islip coach Keith Scheidel said of the Warriors, who built a 5-3 lead after three quarters. “They scored some transition goals on us when we tried to force it on defense. But we are a resilient group.”

That showed up in the fourth quarter. Ryan Scheidel scored his second with 6:05 left to make it 5-4. Then Comsewogue made a critical error. Heller had made a save and the Warriors cleared it into the Islip zone with five minutes left. Then they successfully ran off two minutes before turning it over on a shot-clock violation. Jeff Atlas capitalized with a goal inside the right post on a feed from Bienkowski to tie it.

Then Barry worked his magic and the Buccaneers were able to remain unbeaten.

“I have faith in our offense,” Barry said. “But it definitely felt good when we finally scored and beat their goalie. It assured me I was doing my job.”

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