Sam Sternschein peered into the crowded stands at Northwell Health Ice Center and spotted his parents as he had so many times as a youth hockey player for games at the East Meadow facility. But this time, the Syosset product was in an Islanders’ practice jersey, chasing his professional dream at the team’s summer development camp.
The Penn State junior stood out at Thursday night’s three-squad, round-robin scrimmage, scoring four goals as his Blue squad went 2-0 to win the tournament, including two goals in the clinching 6-2 win over the Blue/White squad.
“When I got the invite, I was really happy,” said Sternschein, who found out about a month ago he would be attending the Islanders’ prospect camp. “I want to make the best of this.”
Sternschein said he grew up “down the street” from Iceworks in Syosset, the Islanders’ former practice home and he played his fair share of youth games there as well.
The 6-2, 197-pound right-shooting forward has 14 goals and 14 assists in 64 games over his first two collegiate seasons after two seasons in the USHL.
Sternschein, asked to describe his game, said he tries to use his size in order to be a power forward.
“I’m trying to score like I did tonight,” Sternschein said. “I want to get that into my game.”
Sternschein displayed good hands skills as he snapped off a shot that beat White squad goalie Straus Mann, of Michigan, to give Blue a 3-1 lead at 9:32 of their eventual 4-2 win.
“I’m trying to take it all in,” Sternschein said of the camp. “I know the level they play at. I want to take advantage of everything. I’m really happy to be here.”
And to share it with his parents, Evan and Robyn.
“It’s really special to have them here,” said Sternschein, adding neither they, nor his older sister, Alexa, played hockey. “There’s no hockey background at all. I’m proud of that.”
Notes & quotes: There will be another open-to-the-public scrimmage at Northwell Health Ice Center on Saturday at 10 a.m. with seating on a first-come, first-served basis…Defenseman Noah Dobson, the 12th overall pick in 2018, scored on a breakaway for the Blue squad and set up the first of two goals by camp invitee Zach Jordan of Ohio State…Oliver Wahlstrom, the 11th overall pick in 2018, scored off a feed from Bode Wilde, picked 41st in 2018, after Wahlstrom muscled the puck toward the crease. But their White squad went 0-2…Goalie Linus Soderstrom, picked 95th in 2014 and who missed all of last season and a significant portion of 2017-18 with lower-body injuries, allowed one goal in 20 strong minutes…Camp invitee Liam Folkes, also of Penn State, scored twice for the Blue/White squad, both set up by Scott Eansor…Sixth-rounder Felix Bibeau had a goal and an assist for Blue/White.