Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 10:35PM
After posting 2 goals and 5 assists in two games against the Portland Junior Pirates this past weekend, the USPHL has named James Mazza of the PAL Junior Islanders Defenseman of the Week.
The Kings Park, New York native has been a defensive rock for the Islanders Premier team over the last two years since coming back to the Island from the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms. Mazza leads the team in points by a defenseman with 15 in 16 games, and is the player depended on to anchor this squad's defense. Mazza is currently committed to Canisius College and will join the Golden Griffins next season.
"It's obviously a good feeling," Mazza said when hearing the news, "It's just nice to see the team rewarded with two wins this weekend." As a good captain generally does, he deflected the credit to his teammates. "My defensive partner San Vincent was there for me all weekend. Since his transition to defense from forward last season he's been nothing but a rock-solid partner to have."
The PAL Junior Islanders organization is proud to congratulation James Mazza on this honor!
Sunday, October 19, 2014, 9:38PM
Four points was the goal for the Premier Junior Islanders this weekend as they made the long roadtrip up to Portland, Maine. Hard work and preparation paid off, as they took down the Portland Junior Pirates by scores of 7-6 and 6-1.
On Saturday, PAL came out flying early in the first. Newcomer Sander Boroczky scored his first goal as an Islander just four minutes into the frame off a nice feed from Chris Makowski. Portland came storming back with three unanswered goals, two in the second and one just 30 seconds into the middle frame.
Only 17 seconds after Matthew Michaud made it 3-1 in favor of the Pirates, Joey Duszak cut the lead in half and it was the Islanders turn to go on a run. Billy Vizzo and Chris Makowski scored goals in the second to put the Islanders up 4-3 after two.
This is a league with a flair for the dramatic, and the third period of this matchup proved that. Portland came out hot and scored two goals to go up 5-4, but with a little over 4 minutes to go Jimmy Mazza fired a slapshot that tied the game at 5. Brady Fleurent, a standout for Portland, put the Pirates on top at 19:03 and the game seemed out of reach. With the net empty and the Islanders in desperation mode, Billy Vizzo chipped in the tying goal with less than 3 seconds on the clock. The game seemed destined for a shootout until Joey Duszak scored his second of the game with 16 second on the clock to win it.
Sunday's game was much less gut-wrenching, as goaltender Henry Burns stood on his head and the Islanders pulled out a 6-1 victory. Burns' 43 saves on 44 shots gave him a .977 save% for the game. The goals came from Christopher Wallace, Jimmy Mazza, and Nick Mangone in the first, Jonathan Spada and James Anderson in the second, and Christopher Wallace again in the third.
Makowski, Mazza, and Duszak each had 4 points in Saturday's victory. Vizzo scored two goals and Boroczky had a goal and an assist in his debut. Mazza and Tommaso Bucci each scored 3 points on Sunday, and Christopher Wallace scored two goals to become the first Islander and just the fourth USPHL skater in double-digits.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 4:13PM
Bucci, Wallace, and Vizzo have been the starting forward combination a number of times in the young season
One of the largest bright spots through the first month of the PAL Junior Islanders' 2014-2015 season has been their second line. Christopher Wallace, Tommaso Bucci, and Billy Vizzo have found some chemistry together and are currently the three top scorers on the team.
Through 14 games, Tommaso Bucci has scored 5 goals and 7 assists to tie Christopher Wallace for the team lead in points, whose 7 goals and 5 assists also put him in the lead for goals. Just a point behind his linemates, Billy Vizzo has 4 goals and 7 assists.
The crew hasn't spent the whole season together, as the coaching staff has juggled lines a bit to try to find the perfect combinations, but this group has worked well together and become a dangerous scoring threat every time they're on the ice.
Tommaso Bucci, a Franklin Square native, spent all of last season with the Premier team, amassing 29 points in the regular season. Bucci joined the Junior Islaners after a successful season spent mostly with the NAHL's Corpus Christi IceRays. Bucci is deadset on obliterating that point total this season, his final in junior hockey before he heads north to play for Mercyhurst.
Christopher Wallace spent time with the Suffolk Juniors in 2010-2011 before leaving and eventually finding his way to the Jersey Hitmen premier squad last season. After a short stint with the Hitmen he came back to the PAL organization and found success with the Junior Islanders as more of a role player. Wallace is currently uncommitted, but is definitely helping his stock with his near point-per-game month to kick off the USPHL season.
Billy Vizzo hails from Shelton, CT, and after spending last season with the Bay State Breakers and Connecticut Junior Yankees (now Rangers) organizations he made the decision to play for PAL Junior Islanders this summer. Vizzo scored 14 points between the Breakers and Yankees Premier clubs last season, and is sure to shatter that number in showcasing his talents for Division I programs this season.
Monday, October 6, 2014, 4:02PM
After dropping a heated series opener, the Premier team managed to get a huge win over the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout Sunday afternoon.
After a scoreless but exciting first, Gianni Evangelisti came out for Philadelphia and scored a goal less than two minutes into the middle frame to put the Flyers ahead. Momentum seemed to be swinging in Philadelphia's favor, but the Islanders stuck with the gameplan and made some great plays late. With 3 minutes to go in the period, Christopher Wallace rang a shot off the post that bounced out to Tommaso Bucci who was driving hard to the net, and Bucci easily buried it to tie the game.
The real heroics came when Joey Duszak, with just seconds to go in the 2nd period, collected his own rebound and carried to behind the net. He saw an opening and went for a wraparound that beat Philadelphia goaltender Joe Young to put the Islanders up 2-1 as the buzzer sounded.
Momentum carried over as Michael Sweeney fired a wrist shot that put the Islanders up 3-1 just 1:34 into the 3rd period.
Bryce Eviston scored a power play goal for the Flyers 8:11 into the period to cut the lead to 3-2, and then a controversial play at the very end of regulation tied it.
Gianni Evangelisti carried the puck into the Islanders zone with about 20 seconds on the clock, and as he did Trevor Gooch stepped up and laid a big hit on an Islanders defender who was skating towards Evangelisti. As the Islanders player was interfered with, the Flyers scored the tying goal to bring the game into overtime, and eventually a shootout.
It only took two shooters for the Islanders, as Michael Sweeney and James Anderson each fired wrist shots past the blocker of the goaltender Young, and Tanner Creel made all 3 stops.
Creel was 35/38 in Sunday's game and got the win. Despite the loss on Saturday, Curtis Frye played an outstanding game stopping 46 of 50 shots against. On Saturday, Chris Makowski scored two goals and Christopher Wallace added one of his own. Wallace is the team leader in goals and points with 6 goals and 6 assists thus far.
Next weekend will be a tough one for the Islanders Premier, as they travel out to New Jersey's Ice Vault Arena for games against the Junior Bruins, Islanders Hockey Club (Middlesex), and Bay State Breakers.
Monday, October 6, 2014, 2:13PM
Syosset's Iceworks was the scene of two dominant divisional victories over the tough Springfield Pics.
Saturday night the 18U took a 3-0 lead into the 3rd period after getting goals from Anthony Pollice, Jason Reiter, and John Basil. Michael Gilroy then scored just over 3 minutes into the 3rd period to put the squad up 4-0. Nolan Egbert made 29 of 30 saves, letting just one through late in the 3rd period when the game was all but over.
Henry Burns was back in net for Sunday's contest and he was nearly flawless. Burns made 34 of 35 saves, being bested only by a power play goal early in the 2nd period.
Anthony Pollice got the scoring started once again for the the 18U just 4:50 into the first period. Matt Herman, Evan Schwartz, Joe Pino, Dan Stingi, and Eric Linell also joined the goal column as the team peppered Springfield's netminder with 39 shots.
With two big wins, the PAL 18U club has moved up into 5th place in the USPHL 18U South Division.
Next weekend the 18U will take their talents to the East Coast Classic Tournaments' College Cup in Connecticut to face some of the top teams in the United States and Canada from multiple leagues.
Sunday, September 28, 2014, 8:14PM
PAL Junior Islanders Premier fell just short of mounting an unbelievable comeback in the final minutes of their Sunday afternoon game against the Junior Bruins.
The defending Dineen Cup and Tier III Junior National Champion Boston Junior Bruins got out to a 3-0 lead early in the second period, and despite an evenly matched 1st period they seemed to take control of the game in the middle frame.
With 6 seconds left in the 2nd period, TJ Roche cut the lead to 3-1 by gathering his own rebound and firing a hard wrister into the top corner of the net. Roche's play was the result of hard work and using his big frame to fight off the defender in front.
Going into the final period down by two goals is never an easy task against the powerhouse Junior Bruins, but the Islanders rode the momentum swing and capitalized on two straight power play opportunities in the third.
Tommaso Bucci scored the second goal for the Islanders when he forced a turnover in the neutral zone and skated hard to the net. Bucci had a linemate to his side, but chose to hold onto the puck and made a beautiful move around goaltender Brian McGrath before tucking a backhand shot past McGrath's leg.
Just minutes later the Islanders were given another power play opportunity, and they wasted no time in getting their next goal.
James Mazza moved the puck across the blue line to Joe Duszak who saw Blake Bazzi wide open in the slot. Duszak fired a shot at Bazzi, who kept his stick on the ice and deflected it past McGrath to tie the game at 3. The Rinx erupted and Duszak jumped into Bazzi's arms to celebrate the huge comeback.
In overtime, the Islanders were given another power play opportunity but could not capitalize. Midway through the extra period, Joona Krigsman looked to cover up a loose puck in front of his net but was unable to, and the puck squirted loose to Bruins star Ryan Cloonan who didn't hesitate to toss the puck into a wide open net.
The story of the weekend was clearly the impressive play of two young netminders, Henry Burns and Joona Krigsman. Krigsman made 46 saves on 50 shots against, and in Henry Burns' Premier debut on Saturday he stopped 47 of 51 in a 4-2 loss to the Bruins. Burns was called up this past week from the 18U team after having an impressive weekend at the BJB Shootout.
Blake Bazzi was the only Islander to score goals in both games, giving him 3 for the season.
The Junior Islanders Premier team comes out of the weekend 1-5-2, and will welcome the Philadelphia Flyers to The Rinx next Saturday.
Sunday, September 28, 2014, 8:09PM
The PAL Junior Islanders 18U outshot their nearby rivals the Long Island Edge 45-25 en route to a 9-3 victory on Sunday afternoon.
Eight different Islanders scored goals in the game, as Chuckie Peck led the way with two at even strength. Peck opened the scoring up for the 18U, and then put away the 7th goal of the game later on.
Eric Linell and Matthew Herman each tallied power play goals, as the special teams from the 18U group continues to improve after a bit of a rocky start.
Filip Pomianek, Daniel Stingi, Tony Abruzzo, Kyle Lawrence, and Evan Schwartz also scored in the win, as the Islanders showcased their offensive talents and continued to pour on the points.
Locust Valley native Harrison Graham made the start in goal tonight and stopped 22 of 25 shots. Henry Burns, the impressive 18U goaltender who had led the way to this point, was called up to the Premier team over the weekend.
Today's victory was one of the most impressive of the season for the 18U, who are starting to find some chemistry and come together in a positive way.
Next weekend the 18U squad will be back on track with its USPHL schedule, as the team welcomes the Springfield Pics to Syosset Ice Works. Games will take place at 6:30 PM on Saturday and 11:30 AM on Sunday. We look forward to seeing you there!
Monday, September 22, 2014, 9:51PM
The 2014-2015 Empire team is 3-2 in the early goings of the USPHL season, and have dominated opponents in their three wins.
So far, Empire has taken down the Junior Bruins by a dominant 6-1 score, manhandled the Islanders Hockey Club in a 16-3 victory, and didn't slow down in their 8-6 defeat of the Jersey Shore Whalers.
Joseph Bizzaro leads the team in scoring with 2 goals and 10 assists in 5 games, with Cameron Smith and Casey O'Leary right behind him at 10 each. Only two players in the Empire League have more points than Bizzaro at this point, and just one player separates Bizzaro from Smith and O'Leary. The group of Suffolk County-natives have scored 17 goals between the three of them, with maybe the most impressive being Cameron Smith's 7 goals as a defenseman. Cameron already has two hat-tricks on the season, and is making a name for himself as 96-born defenseman with great hands and a hard shot at the Empire level. O'Leary, with a hat-trick of his own, in the second game of the season, has found great chemistry with Bizzaro on a top line that leads the team on and off the scoresheet. O'Leary and Smith are 2nd and 3rd respectively in goals scored so far this season.
Goaltender Steven Mundinger has allowed just 7 goals in 5 games of work. Mundinger is 2-0, and has made 99 of 92 saves for a .929 sv% and a 2.69 GAA. That impressive save percentage is good for fourth in the league amongst goalies who have played at least two complete games.
What's been most impressive with this Empire team is that, despite being led by a top-line that's scoring at an unbelievable rate, the depth of this team has really shown. Five games into the season, twelve players have scored at least a goal. Seven of those twelve have at least two goals, and seven players are scoring at a point-per-game or better rate.
The season is still young for this Empire squad, but if these early showings are any indication of what's to come this is going to be a tough team to beat in the Empire's North Division.
Monday, September 22, 2014, 1:14AM
After a weekend to forget at the 2014 Boston Junior Bruins Shooutout, the Premier, 18U, and 16U teams will look to regroup at home and are looking towards their next opponents.
The Premier squad dropped all three games over the weekend, with two of the three going into overtime. Yesterday, they were defeated 5-4 in a shootout loss to the Islanders Hockey Club, after an absolutely incredible comeback in the third period. Midway through the third period the PAL Junior Islanders were down 4-1 when TJ Roche, James Anderson, and Billy Vizzo scored three straight goals in a span of two minutes to tie the game. Unfortunately, the momentum couldn't carry into the overtime period and the team fell in the shootout. James Anderson and Christopher Wallace each scored two goals over the weekend and were the clear standouts offensively. The other overtime loss came at the hands of the Springfield Pics, and the team was defeated by South Shore Kings' Premier 4-1 on Friday.
Despite the rough start, confidence and expectations are still high for this club. Of course, the schedule doesn't get any easier with defending Dineen Cup and Tier III National Champions the Boston Junior Bruins coming to town next weekend.
18U and 16U weren't able to fare much better this weekend unfortunately. The 18U club played just one league game in Marlborough against Selects Academy in which they fell 2-1 in overtime. Anthony Pollice scored his first of the season in that game. The 16U club won their first game of the weekend 3-0 over the Springfield Pics, but were then confronted by two of the powerhouses of this league in the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Knights and Syracuse Stars.
Next weekend, the 18U has just one game at home (Iceworks) against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Knights and the 16U will travel for one game with the Jersey Hitmen. Both of these games will take place Sunday afternoon.
Monday, September 15, 2014, 7:50PM
The PAL Junior Islanders Premier team got off a disappointing start over the weekend, but came back with a convincing 5-1 win on Monday afternoon.
After two straight 6-1 losses at the hands of the Jersey Hitmen, the Islanders welcomed the Rochester Junior Americans to The Rinx today. This was the first time these two teams met at the Premier level, as Rochester did not field a Premier team last season.
On Sunday Jersey's James Martello was assessed a 5-minute major penalty in the first for elbowing on a hit to Joey Duszak away from the play, and Alex Wetterstrand received his own 5-minute major on a checking from behind call midway through the game. The physical play escalated from there.
Each of the two games between the Hitmen and Islanders were marred by penalties and undisciplined play, as the rivalry that's started over the last year hit possibly an all-time high on Sunday. As the game got out of hand, ejections were handed out.
The 0-2 start was the driving force behind how hard the team battled in their 5-1 victory this afternoon.
Three of the five goals were scored by players who hadn't dressed for the team's opening weekend: Kyle Menges, Nick Mangone, and Luciano Bucci. Not to be outdone by his little brother, Tommaso Bucci added a goal of his own in the second period to make the score 4-0. Conlan Keenan, Rochester's leading scorer last year, cut the lead to 4-1, but Mike Sweeney's first of the year put the game out of reach for good late in the third.
Coach Galiani made drastic changes to the lineup this afternoon, bringing in five skaters who didn't play against the Hitmen in favor of some of the veterans. Joey Duszak spent some time playing forward this afternoon, and TJ Roche was shifted back and forth between forward and defense against the Hitmen. Curtis Frye was solid in net today, making his debut.
Despite dropping the first two games of the weekend, the Junior Islanders will take some positives out of this three-game set and two hard-earned points as they look forward to the Boston Junior Bruins showcase in Marlborough, MA next weekend!