Joshua Ho-Sang electrified Nassau Coliseum Thursday night at the Islanders Blue and White Scrimmage, showcasing the smooth hands that garnered a first-round selection, last month in Philadelphia.
He scored two goals and an assist during the annual prospect scrimmage and added a slick marker in the ensuing shootout competition. Team Blue won the Scrimmage 7-3 and by the end of the night, the 4,000 fans at Nassau Coliseum were chanting “Ho-Sang! Ho-Sang!” in cadence with the arena organ.
“It was pretty surreal,” Ho-Sang said of the crowd chanting his name. “I never expected it, but it made me nervous before I shot (in the shootout). It’s such an honor and the fans support was unbelievable.”
Ho-Sang’s three-point night propelled Team Blue past Team White. The Blue-clad prospects broke open a 1-1 draw after the first period, en route to a 5-2 win in the game portion, before taking two-of-three events in the skills competition.
“It was good to get back out there in a game,” Team Blue defenseman Ryan Pulock said. “I thought the guys gelled out there a bit and I thought as the game went on we got better.”
Alan Quine, Dylan Gambrell, Franklin Square native Tommasco Bucci and Patchogue native John Schiavo scored in regulation for Team Blue, while Robbie Russo and Evan Polei lit the lamp for Team White.
“I played with (Mike) Halmo and Quine… and they are both NHL-caliber players,” Ho-Sang said. “They give me a lot of room. I was also playing with Pulock and Griffin (Reinhart) most of the night. When you play with great players, it’s not too hard.”
The action shifted to a skills competition following regulation, as the teams competed in a shootout, hardest shot challenge and team breakaway competition.
Quine and Ho-Sang dazzled the fans in the shootout competition, as Quine channeled Ryan Strome’s memorable between-the-legs move from 2011, sending the Coliseum into a frenzy. Ho-Sang scored the shootout decider with some complicated and highly-skilled stick handling.
Reinhart and Pulock tied in the hardest shot competition, each driving the puck 89 MPH towards the goal. Reinhart said he was just trying to emulate Pulock during an on-ice interview and conceded that he still thinks Pulock’s shot is harder.
Team White won the team breakaway challenge, ending the annual event on a high note.
Despite the loss, Kevin Czuczman said the event was fun and he relished being able to put on the Islanders jersey in front of the fans again.
“It’s unreal putting that jersey on,” Czuczman said. “You get chills every time you do.”
As one of the veterans of the Islanders Mini Camp, Czuczman looked solid and poised on the ice, picking up an assist. He said he could see the nerves in some of the younger players, but that these events are important for a player’s development.
“You could tell there were a lot of nerves out there and I saw some of myself out there when I was at my first development camp,” he said. “You learn how much more work there is to do.”
The teams get back to work this weekend with two more days on the ice before the close of Islanders Mini Camp on Sunday.