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Long Island Hockey Fest a Big Success

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

More than 1,000 youth hockey players took to the ice at the Nassau Coliseum this past weekend thanks to Islanders Long Island Hockey Fest, presented by Modell's Sporting Goods.

Long Island Hockey Fest began on Saturday afternoon with a lead-up to Monday's Lighthouse Cup––which pits the Suffolk County High School All-Stars versus the Nassau County High School All-Stars. Prior to the Islanders game against the New Jersey Devils, the Nassau County Freshmen All-Stars defeated the Suffolk County Freshmen All-Stars. That was followed by the Suffolk JV All-Stars knocking off the Nassau County JV All-Stars.
The split set up an interesting finale, as the Lighthouse Cup served as the tiebreaker. In last year's inaugural Lighthouse Cup––formerly the Vytra Cup––Suffolk out-paced Nassau to an 11-0 victory. This year, the game was much closer, as Suffolk defeated Nassau, 4-3 in a shootout.
Both teams were evenly matched, with Nassau taking the early lead. Suffolk countered, but Nassau would grab a 3-1 lead heading into the third period, thanks to two goals by Daniel Donahue.
The third period was all Suffolk. Tyler Young and Stephen Castriota scored back-to-back power-play goals to even the score at three and send the game into a shootout.
"We thought we dominated the whole third period," said Suffolk Head Coach Mike Zguris. "We re-focused everything going into the third. This was a very sweet win after last year's 11-0 victory. This was a much more competitive game."
In the extra session, Suffolk goaltender Ryan McDade took over, stopping all three Nassau shooters. Young came through again, scoring the lone shootout goal to give Suffolk the shootout win and their second consecutive Lighthouse Cup.
"I knew I couldn't let up any goals in the third period," said McDade. "They came out fast, but we fought back hard. I've been in shootouts since I was six years old. I love it. I'd rather go into a shootout than overtime. I knew the first kid shooting, but I didn't know any of the other ones."
Following the game, McDade and Nassau County netminder Brian Burchman were named the game's Most Valuable Players at a banquet at the Marriott.
Click here to read a complete recap of the Lighthouse Cup.

Sunday was Long Island Hockey Fest's busiest day at the Coliseum. 
The morning began with a Mite/Mini-Mite Jamboree that went from 7-10:30. The Jamboree featured hundreds of 6-8-year-olds from nine rinks on Long Island competing in mini-games. The kids then stayed to watch the Islanders practice.
"The day started off with a cluster of young kids, anxious to see what lays ahead in their hockey careers," said Islanders Director of Player Development Dan Bedard.
 Following Islanders practice––which had its biggest crowd of the season––the Lighthouse Tournament held its championship games in the Squirt, Pee Wee, Bantam and Midget divisions.
In the Squirt Final, The Rinx defeated Cantiague by the score of 4-1. In the Pee Wee Championship, Iceland knocked off The Rinx, 8-2. The Bantam Final saw the Cantiague Wolverines claim the championship with a 5-1 victory over the Superior Sharks. And in the Midget Final, there was a tie 2-2 tie between the Warriors and Ducks of Cantiague. All champions won complementary tickets to Monday's Islanders game against Washington.
"We saw kids from ages 10 years old with the Squirt tier to kids ages 18 with the opportunity to feel like a pro for a day," said Bedard. "A lot of great comments were passed onto the staff about the efforts of Charles Wang and the Islanders to give these kids from Long Island the opportunity to skate on the big rink and feel like a true Islander. There have been a lot of die-hard fans who have been with us for a long time. And there were a lot of great compliments about what the Islanders are doing. I'm just happy to be a part of it. I'm looking forward to a bigger and better tournament next year."
Click here to read the Lighthouse Tournament blog.

The Islanders Business Club hosted an afternoon event on Monday, and members couldn’t help but be excited about both the event and Long Island Hockey Fest.
"Being able to mingle with other business owners from Long Island is the best part about the IBC," said Tony Salucci of A.L.S. Construction, who was here with his wife and three kids. "My boys are playing foosball and having a great time. One of my sons plays for the Mite "C" travel team for the Suffolk Royals, so we were here Sunday for the Lighthouse Tournament. It was a great day."

Click here to view a Photo Gallery from the event.
Click here to find out more about the Islanders Business Club.

The Islanders—in conjunction with the Long Island Power Authority, National Grid, Boro Recycling and Covanta Energy—have launched "Goal Green"—an environmental and social commitment campaign to educate the people of Long Island about how they can all contribute to a greener environment.  
During Saturday’s game against the Devils and Monday’s game against the Capitals, all fans who donated a used electronic item for recycling, were given two ticket vouchers to Wednesday's Islanders game against the Anaheim Ducks. More than 570 electronic items were donated over the course of two days to help towards the "Goal Green" campaign.

Click here to learn more about “Goal Green.”

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