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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: NYSAHA - Midget - Long Island 2, Niagara 2

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

NYSAHA - Midget - Long Island 2, Niagara 2

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Long Island Rebels and the Grand Niagara Jr. Purple Eagles became the first squads to end their 51 minute contest in a tie and both earned new life in the 2008 NYSAHA Tier II 16U Midget State Championship Tournament with must-win contests now slated for this evening.

Long Island forward Jake Mastrandrea powered the rebels with two goals, both tying the contest after the Jr. Purple Eagles pulled ahead in the first period on two occasions.

“We were a little sloppy and needed to work more as a team,” Mastrandrea said. “We needed to go to the net and get our opportunities and turn them into goals.”

Grand Niagara opened the contest with Matthew Malley’s power play goal from an assist by Michael Janese at 2:16 and Long Island’s Mastrandrea answered with his opening salvo at 4:58 from an assist by Andy Koniuch.

The Jr. Purple Eagles took the lead, 2-1, at 15:20 of the first period when Joseph Casale found T.J. Bullock in front.

The Rebels were unable to score the equalizer on Grand Niagara goaltender Jordan Schroeder until it took advantage of a power play. Mastrandrea wristed the puck up into the corner courtesy of an assist by Dakota Davidson at 5:29 of the second.

From there, the two squads remained knotted a two goals apiece for the remainder of the contest.

“We didn’t pick our corners like we used to and we didn’t have a lot of second chances,” Long Island coach Mike Hendrickson said. “We weren’t crashing the goal and without a couple power play goals we would have a tough afternoon.”

Grand Niagara goaltender Jordan Schroeder turned back 19 of the 21 shots he faced, negating those corners that the Rebels were fond of.

“My focus is on angles and cutting down their angles and controlling rebounds,” Schroeder said. “I don’t worry about the corners, but if I took them away, great.”

Long Island was routed by rival Westchester, 9-1 Friday and must defeat Western New York’s Southtowns Stars at 6 p.m. in the tournament pool play finale.

“The tie doesn’t hurt us,” Hendrickson said. “It keeps us involved for Sunday. Yesterday was a big disappointment and it was important for us to bounce back.”

For Grand Niagara coach Gary Burns, the tie didn’t sit as well with him.

“The one point disappoints me,” Burns said. “I thought we should have won. I think we’re a better team.”

The Jr. Purple Eagles defense prevented the Rebels from crashing in on Schroeder and reduced their scoring chances.

“They had a tendency to throw the puck at the net and our defense did a good job controlling the bodies near the net,” Burns said.

With the score locked at two apiece, Burns chose to be conservative late in the contest.

“That’s why I didn’t pull the goalie,” Burns explained. “It keeps me in the equation. If we lose, we’re out.”

Grand Niagara will take on Westchester (2-0) at 4 p.m. and needs a victory along with some help to advance.

“We have to come out and do a better job playing our forecheck,” Burns said. “We have to do a better job keeping our scoring options open. “

First period scoring:
1. Grand Niagara, Matthew Malley (Michael Janese), 2:16, ppg. 2. Long Island, Jake Mastrandrea (Andy Koniuch), 4:58. 3. Grand Niagara, T.J. Bullock (Joseph Casale), 15:20.
Penalties: Niagara – None. Long Island – Michael Marino (holding), :49; Korey Hendrickson (holding), 11:40.

Second period scoring: 4. Long Island, Jake Mastrandrea (Dakota Davidson), 5:29, ppg.
Penalties: Niagara – Weston Hilts (holding), 4:45; Nicholas Burns (interference), 13:05. Long Island – Anthony Chiantella (holding), 8:54.

Third period scoring: None.
Penalties: Niagara – Matthew Malley (interference), 4:16. Long Island – Misconduct (10 mins), 12:36.

Niagara 2 0 0 – 2
Long Island 1 1 0 – 2
Goalie saves: Niagara –
Jordan Schroeder, 19. Long Island – Richard Righi, 13.

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