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Recap: PAL Junior Islanders at USPHL Summer Showcase

Monday, July 21, 2014, 9:07PM

Over the weekend, the PAL Junior Islanders participated in the 2014 USPHL Summer Showcase at New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Massachusetts.

Fielding three teams, the Junior Islanders Futures and teams Blue and Orange, each group played three competitive games that helped build some chemistry for the upcoming season.

The Blue and Orange squads were made up of players from last season's Premier and Empire teams, plus a few new faces from other organizations and call-ups from younger teams. A lot of players were called on to play multiple games for both teams, giving guys an eventful weekend of hockey. Joey Duszak, last year's breakout defensive star who started the season with the 18U and played 34 games with the Premier team seemed to be on the ice for both Blue and Orange on every shift. Endurance was no factor for Duszak, who was one of the best players at the showcase.

Also impressive was a new signing, 96-birth year Darren Capobianco of Branford, CT, who is playing in his first games with the Islanders. Capobianco spent last season with Bay State's 18U club, where he established himself as a hard-nosed defenseman who could add some offense when called upon. Darren fit right in with his new teammates, and added a showcase goal to his steady defensive showing.

Goaltending was another area of strength for the team, as returnees Curtis Frye and Steven Mundinger anchored the Orange team and newcomers Tanner Creel and Joona Krigsman got their work in with Blue. Creel is an Illinois native committed to Army who signed on with PAL to play out his last year of Junior eligibility before he goes back to school. Joona Krigsman played for his local club Peliitat in Heinola, Finland and is now bringing his talents to Long Island.

Of the two, only the Blue team won their bracket and faced the Jersey Hitmen Premier club in the first round of the playoffs. A breakdown off the opening faceoff led to a Hitmen goal just 11 seconds into the game, and that was all Jersey needed as they clamped down defensively. The Hitmen added an empty-net goal to take the game 2-0.

The Futures group was led by forwards Evan Schwartz and Tony Abruzzo, two returnees who are sure to add some high-level offense for the 18U club this season. Though the Futures were knocked off by the bracket-winning Jersey Hitmen Empire team, every game they played was close and competitive.

We're excited for the upcoming USPHL season, and if these showcases are any indication of what's to come there is a ton of confidence in our Islanders teams!

 

PAL Alumni Tage Thompson Selected to U.S. Under-18 National Team

Sunday, July 20, 2014, 4:59PM

The PAL Junior Islanders would like to congratulate our very own Tage Thompson on being named to the United States Under-18 National Team Development Program!

Last season, Tage played 16 games for the PAL Junior Islanders U16 club where he dominated the competition with 17 goals and 14 assists for 31 total points. Thompson finished second on the team in scoring, playing at least eight less games than any other player in the top ten.

Despite being a new player in the organization, the players and coaching staff named Tage Thompson a captain at the beginning of the year.

“Tage carries himself like a well-seasoned professional,” his U16 coach Will Bodine said, “He's always early to any team function, which is noticed by all and shows his determination and drive to succeed in hockey.”

Thompson's path to the National Team wasn't easy, and over the last few months he faced rejection numerous times before finally landing his roster spot. Thompson wasn't selected as one of the New York-region players to attend the camp, but was eventually invited to come as a tryout.

“I was pretty upset and shocked, and I took that attitude into the national camp when I found out I was going.”

Then, after having what he felt was an excellent camp, the roster for the prestigious Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament was announced, and his name was left off the list. Just after the announcement though, Head Coach Don Granato and Director of Player Personnel Peter Ward were waiting for Thompson to let him know he had been selected for the USNTDP.

“I went there with the mentality to just have a good showing and prove some people wrong, and show that I belonged” Tage told me, “I would have never thought that I'd be selected to play for the program.”

Tage Thompson, a 97-birth year, stands in at an imposing 6'1 and 170 pounds. Though many scouts believe his size at his age is one of his strongest assets, Tage sees room for improvement. “I need to put on some weight and get stronger, but that's something that the program will definitely help me with. They have a great reputation of developing players and turning them into men and great athletes.”

When asked to describe what makes him a great player, the first quality he used to describe himself was “hard-working.” “I would say my biggest assets would be my hands and my vision. Faceoffs are a pretty big part of my game as well.”

Coach Bodine had nothing negative to say about the standout.

“Tage has incredible vision, size, and tenacity on the ice, and when you pair all that with his composure and nose for the net he's an absolute force to try and contain.”

Thompson reciprocated the feelings, speaking highly of the PAL Junior Islanders organization and coaching staff.

"They played me a lot, which helped me develop as a player and to learn how to play in all situations. They taught me how to act like a pro on and off the ice."

On this past season's Under-18 team, 11 players were drafted into the NHL and all but one have committed to Division I NCAA programs.

The PAL Junior Islanders organization is proud of Tage, and we're excited to see the player he'll grow into! 

 

Bucci Shines at Isles Mini-Camp

Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 5:11PM
Photo Courtesy of MSG Varsity.com

Islanders mini-camp provided Jr. Islander standouts Tomasso Bucci, Jimmy Mazza and Chris Makowski a chance to reflect on playing hockey here on Long Island and in front of hometown fans. MSG Varsity's Dylan Butler caught up with the trio at the Nassau Coliseum last week.

Read the coverage here:

 

Recap: Three Premier Players Impress at New York Islanders Rookie Camp

Monday, July 14, 2014, 4:01PM
Photo Credit: Brandon Titus

This past week, three players from the PAL Junior Islanders Premier team took part in New York Islanders Rookie Camp. Tommaso Bucci and Chris Makowski, two forwards committed to Mercyhurst University, shined in a group that included some of the NHL club's biggest defensive prospects. Defenseman Jimmy Mazza, back on the ice for his second camp with the Islanders, made his presence felt every day.


"Obviously the first time I came here last year I had jitter bugs" Mazza said, "I was wondering where I had to go and what I had to do every day. This year I just felt much calmer and was excited to go out there and have fun. I just looked to learn and get better." The 6'2, 174 pound Kings Park native is finishing his junior eligibility this year with the PAL Junior Islanders before moving onto Division I Canisius College.


I asked Mazza to describe the experience and how it would help his development. "I took a lot from the coaching staff about what I can do to help benefit my game on and off the ice...I just felt very fortunate to be out there learning what it takes to be a pro from an NHL staff."


Working against a group with the star-power of top NHL draft picks Griffin Reinhart, Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, plus other Major Junior and NCAA defensemen, the line of Bucci, Makowski and the Japanese star Yuri Terao held their own during every drill. Both Bucci and Makowski impressed coaches and media in attendance with their speed and talent, and showed why they deserved the invite to camp.


"Here, practice is way more intense and high tempo" Bucci told me after Sunday's final day of Rookie Camp. "It really opens up your eyes and shows you how much you need to work harder and get better."


Tommaso Bucci, the Franklin Square native, scored a goal in Thursday night's Blue and White Scrimmage in front of a few thousand fans at the Nassau Memorial Veterans Coliseum. "It was crazy. I saw Chris [Makowski] and was like, 'is this even happening right now?' It didn't feel real."


With eighteen skaters our Premier players weren't going to be working alongside this upcoming season, I asked Mazza and Bucci which players outside of the PAL organization they enjoyed playing with the most.


Bucci thought about it for a second before turning and giving a nod to Yuri Terao, the Japanese player invited after impressing a number of NHL scouts with the Japanese U18 National Team. Terao was awarded the primary assist on Bucci's goal in the Blue and White Scrimmage, and it was obvious all week that those two wingers flanking Makowski had great chemistry.


"I was pumped to play with one of my good buddies again, Austin Cangelosi, who was my captain two years ago," Mazza said of the Estero, Florida native now playing for Boston College. The two had previously played together for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League, where Cangelosi led the team in scoring and Mazza made a name for himself as a tough, workhorse defenseman who logged 106 penalty minutes in 58 games. "The hockey world is a tight-knit community, and it always makes it more fun when you're able to reunite with your former teammates again. That's one of the many things that makes this sport so great."

Mazza with the Blue Team defense

Photo Credit: Brandon Titus

 

Premier's Mazza Interviewed by Newsday

Saturday, July 12, 2014, 2:17PM

While covering New York Islanders Rookie Camp this week, Newsday sat down with 2014 1st round draft pick Joshua Ho-Sang and PAL Junior Islanders Premier defenseman James Mazza.

"You really get to see where you're at and what you need to work on," said Mazza, excited by the tremendous opportunity to work with and against some of the top prospects in the New York Islanders system.

This year was Mazza's second camp with the Islanders, and the improvements are very noticable!

For the full interview and story, follow the link: http://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/islanders/islanders-prospects-work-out-at-day-2-of-mini-camp-1.8749366

 

2014 Walk-a-Thon

Saturday, July 12, 2014, 2:16PM

This year’s PAL Hockey/Junior Islanders Walk-A-Thon will be held on Sunday, September 7, 2014 to sponsor the Ronald McDonald Family Room located at Stony Brook Hospital.

The Ronald McDonald Family Room at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital serves as an extension of the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island. The Family Room provides families of children undergoing medical treatment with a place to rest and relax right at the hospital,

Besides providing the opportunity for medical services to the smallest of hockey fans, we are also raising money to ensure that PRIDE in Athletics for Life can continue to instill the core values of Passion, Respect, Integrity, Discipline and Enthusiasm in the children of our community.  These core values not only support our mission of improving their experience as athletes but help instill values that make these young men and women better people in life.

Please direct all questions regarding registration and sponsorship opportunities of the Walk-A-Thon to your team’s Special Events Coordinator – see the list below.

TEAM NAME CELL # E-MAIL
Mite Gold  George Alvarado 347-612-6837 galvarado66@gmail.com
Mite Gold ST Tony Gagliano 917-617-3729 tgags17@gmail.com
Mite Silver South Nicole Alamia 631-786-7266 nikkibene@aol.com
Mite Silver North  Veronica Castellano 631-332-0627 veruca1604@optonline.net
Mite ST Silver Matt Carkner 571-488-5134 carknermatt@me.com
Mite ST Bronze Corinne Masterson 516-312-0596 cmast2718@gmail.com
Mite Bronze William Wandling 516-903-3737 billwandling@gmail.com
Squirt Minor Tier I Tricia Renkowski 631-766-5790 tricialynn71@gmail.com
Squirt Major TI Debbie McCarthy 631-806-8291 Debbie.McCarthy721@gmail.com
SQUIRT Tier II  Melissa Borsuk 516-316-4777 melissaborsuk@verizon.net
SQUIRT Tier III ST Jessica Dubner   jj1angel@aol.com
SQUIRT Tier III Nicole Alamia 631-786-7266 nikkibene@aol.com
PW Minor Tier I Hope Marra 631-525-9500 hmarra@aol.com 
PW Major Tier I Loretta Burridge 516-650-1512 burridge1@verizon.net
PeeWee Tier II Karen Schiavone 631-813-6803 tfs199@optonline.net
Peewee TIII Karyn Kendrick 631-848-8837 KENDRICK44@VERIZON.NET
Bantam Minor Tier I Beth Alvarado  347-612-6831 bvlahavas@gmail.com
Bantam Major T I Kathy Connely 917-807-6166 kath24@optonline.net
Bantam Tier II Leslie Boritz 631-484-6237 lhboritz@optonline.net
Bantam Tier III Kristin Campisi 646-662-9131 kristincampisi@yahoo.com
Midget Tier II Kevin Sparacio 631-525-7997 raidr32@optonline.net
 

Annual Golf Outing

Saturday, July 12, 2014, 2:14PM

The 10th Annual P.A.L. Ice Hockey/Junior Islanders golf outing is being held August 25, 2014 to help raise funds for the continued effort in keeping costs of playing ice hockey as reasonable as possible. While enjoying a day of golf, you will assist in providing an opportunity for kids to play the great game of hockey.

We are very pleased to be playing at the beautiful Baiting Hollow Club home of the USA Open Qualifier. Arrival will be at the Baiting Hollow Club, 100 Club Hill Drive in Baiting Hollow, NY. Dinner and prizes will be at Giorgio’s Catering which is connected to the Baiting Hollow Golf Course. You will eat like a king!

Come join us for a great day of golf, fun, and sharing the great memories with our Hall of Fame inductees. See below for all the details. You can reserve your spot or arrange for a sponsorship through the Golf Reps for each team (see below)

GOLF BROCHURE

TEAM REP CELL # E-MAIL
Mite Gold  Jeff Conroy 516-721-0281 JDConroy@optonline.net
Mite Gold ST David Disque 917-886-6094  
Mite Silver South Steve Grimes 631-745-4458 roadwork@optonline.net
Mite Silver North  Mike Landrigan 516-924-0023 inthemooddj@aol.com
Mite ST Silver Matt Carkner 571-488-5134 carknermatt@me.com
Mite ST Bronze Mike Espinal 917-597-0344 mespinal@onestoprecovery.net
Mite Bronze Mike Landrigan 516-924-0023 inthemooddj@aol.com
Squirt Minor Tier I Steve Colavecchio 631-366-2616 scolavec@aol.com
Squirt Major TI James Alfieri 516-429-4904 jalfieri@estee.com
Squirt Tier II  James Flynn 917-217-1309 Jflynn@itcservices.com
Squirt Tier III ST Matt Carkner 571-488-5134 carknermatt@me.com
Squirt Tier III George Alamia 631-987-7866 galamia@smithtown.k12.ny
PW Minor Tier I John Stewart  516-236-4755 johnfstewartiii@msn.com 
PW Major Tier I Mike Burridge 516-650-1513 Bagelmike1@gmail.com
PeeWee Tier II Rich Noll 516-840-3343 ernoll@lawnoll.com
Peewee TIII Vinny Marchese 631-678-2277 VincentAndLaura@GMAIL.com
Bantam Minor Tier I Eddie Chlanda 631-872-9637 coacheddiec@gmail.com 
Bantam Major T I Bryan Hulser 516-236-3637 bhulser@kenroindustries.com
Bantam Tier II Anthony Labadie 631-433-9784 all2002@optonline.net
Bantam Tier III Michael Dougherty 516-429-3489 mndoc@optonline.net
Midget Tier II Frank Raffone 718-314-0190 f.raffone@yahoo.com
 

Premier Players Excel in New York Islanders Scrimmage

Friday, July 11, 2014, 1:40AM
Bucci and Terao celebrate the goal. Photo Credit: Brandon Titus

All three invited members of the PAL Junior Islanders Premier squad excelled in last night's New York Islanders Rookie Scrimmage.


Forward duo Tommaso Bucci and Chris Makowski were matched with the Japanese-native Yuri Terao tonight, and the line had seemingly instant chemistry. On their first shift, all three players had scoring opportunities and the line took two shots on goal. Eventually, that chemistry led to a goal after a rebound from University of Minnesota defenseman Jake Bischoff's shot came to Tommaso Bucci in the high slot, who didn't hesitate to fire it on net. The one-timer beat Eamon McAdam, a 3rd round draft pick of the New York Islanders currently playing for Penn State, on his blocker side. "No way that just happened, this is crazy!" is what Bucci told reporters he said to Makowski as they celebrated the goal. Makowski, though he didn't register a point in the scrimmage, got roars from the crowd after an absolutely beautiful goal during the "Team Breakaway" skills competion.


James Mazza played his game effectively as well for the Islanders. Though it was obvious that the shuffling of defense-pairings made it difficult for the defensemen to really get used to each other, Mazza never looked out of place and showed off his talents in both ends of the ice. Mazza, playing in his second Islanders Rookie Scrimmage, blocked shots and utilized his long reach and big body to take away the passing and shooting lanes from forwards. A shift early on in the game saw Mazza frustrating Islanders 1st round pick Michael Dal Colle (#5 overall) with tough physical play and a blocked shot. James also did a great job of reading plays in the offensive zone, never stepping up at the wrong time or getting caught out of position. His two-way game translated beautifully, and he's sure to be an absolute stud in the Premier League this season.


The Blue Team, where all three PAL skaters played, won the scrimmage 7-3. With two days of New York Islanders Rookie Camp to go, our guys are enjoying every last moment!

 

New York Islanders Coaching Staff Give Clinic for PAL Coaches

Thursday, July 10, 2014, 3:53AM

During the always busy and exciting Rookie Camp held every summer, the New York Islanders coaching staff took the time to sit and meet with the coaches from the PAL Junior Islanders.

Islanders coaches Jack Capuano, Doug Weight, Brent Thompson, Greg Cronin, and the rest of the staff held clinics for coaches at all levels in the PAL program. From Mites to Juniors, each PAL coach left the clinic with information to help their players develop. Each New York Islanders coach took it upon themselves to share their expertise in their own particular field, and gave out all of the same information that they would give their own NHL players. PAL coaches engaged in lively discussions with the NHL coaches in attempts to help their players grow and become the absolute best hockey players they can be.

We're proud and honored to be affiliated with the New York Islanders, and the entire PAL staff would like to once again thank the New York Islanders coaching staff for taking the time to share coaching tips and stories!

 

PAL Junior Islanders U18 Player Spotlight Part 1

Monday, July 7, 2014, 6:40PM

This summer, the PAL Junior Islanders are looking to bring the fans closer than ever to our team. Over the next few weeks, we'll be focusing on some of the players who have already signed on with the team to help everybody get to know the Islanders.
After a season of inconsistent play led to the U18 team finishing with a disappointing 10-15-1-0 record, the Islanders are looking to build and improve. President Ron Kinnear told us "the record doesn't tell the whole story for the U18 team", adding that they "produced several top prospects and really focused on the development, which will show in seasons to come." This season, the team will be coached by Will Bodine, who last year led the U16 club to a 19-8-1-1 record. Four players will return from last year's U18 squad, and this week we'll focus on these players and what is expected of them this season.

 

Michael Gilroy, Defense
Point Lookout, NY
6'1, 170 lbs

Last season's U18 Captain Michael Gilroy is coming off a great season in which he was named to the USPHL U18 All-Star team. Gilroy, as the returning captain, is expected to be a mentor and leader for the younger defensemen who Coach Bodine believes can learn a lot from him. Gilroy is a strong defender who uses his size to his advantage, and this summer he's worked to fill out his 6'1 frame. Michael's defensive prowess is respected around the USPHL already, but his shot from the point has developed into a cannon. By adding a lethal slap shot, Gilroy is expected to be a huge presence on the blue line in power play situations. Gilroy scored 4 goals and 11 assists last year, and we expect those numbers to grow.

 

Evan Schwartz, Forward
Long Beach, NY
5'11, 170 lbs

Evan Schwartz is a talented forward whose 13 goals and 9 assists (22 total points) were very impressive over is 25 games of action with the U18 squad. Schwartz also played 14 games for his Long Beach High School team, where he scored 22 goals and 9 assists en route to being named the 2013-2014 Michelino Division MVP. Coach Bodine called Schwartz "a relentless player" and admired his strength and speed. Evan's size, speed, and strength allow him to be used on both the power play and penalty kill, making him a valuable asset in all situations. After having a dominant season in Nassau County's Michelino Division, and a very good first season with the PAL Junior Islanders, we're expecting great things from Evan.


Jason Reiter, Forward
Dix Hills, NY
5'11, 165 lbs

Jason Reiter is a solid two-way forward who has played in this organization for a few years now. Building off an 8-5-13 season in 2012-2013 with the Suffolk Juniors in the EJHL, Reiter had a productive 2013-2014 with the U18 PAL Junior Islanders. Reiter's offensive production, 6 goals and 6 assists, often came when the team needed a player to step up in a tough situation. "We expect Jason to have a bigger role, adding to his successful and productive season last year" said Coach Bodine, adding that they expect Reiter to be "a go-to guy when we're in need of a big goal."


James Carroll, Defense
Massapequa, NY
5'10, 174 lbs

James Caroll is a versatile two-way defenseman who played in limited minutes for the U18 team last season, but is seen as a key piece for the defense this year. Coach Bodine called Carroll "a complete package," and added that he "brings as much to the offensive zone as he does the defensive zone." Like Gilroy, James will be expected to help some of the younger defensemen develop this year, and having played a season at the USPHL U18 level gives him the experience he needs to fill that role. Bodine expects Carroll to continue to develop, and feels that he can add a strong presence to the special teams this season.

 
 
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