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Sarnia Connection Stings Blue Eagles

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
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Click here to watch highlights from the rookie game against Moncton

Photo by Rich Stieglitz
The New York Islanders rookies, led by a group of current and former Sarnia Sting of the OHL, defeated the University of Moncton Blue Eagles 4-1 in a scrimmage on Monday night at the Moncton Coliseum in Moncton, New Brunswick. The Islanders tallied three shorthanded goals.

Current Sting members Matt Martin and Justin DiBenedetto––both drafted by the Islanders in 2008––along with Sting alumni Micheal Haley and Vladimir Nikiforov each notched goals. Islanders 2008 draft pick Kevin Poulin allowed only one goal on 23 shots as the Islanders rookies improved to 2-0 in scrimmages during Training Camp.

"I liked the overall play from our forwards to our defense, and the goaltender played exceptionally well, keeping us in the game," said Bridgeport Sound Tigers Head Coach Jack Capuano. "They played in the confines of the system that was implemented by Scott and his staff. It paid off tonight. They worked hard and got the win."

The Islanders took a 3-0 lead after one period of play on goals by Nikiforov, who is a Training Camp invite, DiBenedetto and Haley, who played for the Sound Tigers in 2007-08.

Nikiforov scored while shorthanded, when Tomas Marcinko––a 2006 Islanders draft pick––fed him on a 2-on-1. Nikiforov faked to his forehand and then slid the puck by goaltender Kevin Lachance. Later in the period, also while shorthanded, DiBenedetto went end-to-end and finished with a neat backhand move through the five-hole for a 2-0 Islanders lead.

"Vlad showed off his skills, his ability to jump into holes and finish," said Islanders Pro Scout Tim Maclean. "Justin also displayed his puck skills to go along with his effort."

Haley capped off a nifty passing play with Tyler Haskins––who suited up for the Sound Tigers last season––by blasting a one-timer top shelf to stake the Islanders to a commanding 3-0 advantage after 20 minutes of play.

"Haley and Haskins stuck out not only on the ice but on the bench as well," said Capuano. "They've been here before, so it was great to see them contribute on the ice, but also on the bench, helping the young guys out."

Photo by Rich Stieglitz
Moncton got on the board to make it 3-1, while on the power play, when Dean Ouellet scored early in the second period.

The Sarnia tandem continued its scoring punch in the second period. Martin capped off another shorthanded 2-on-1 rush with a high wrist shot for a 4-1 Islanders lead.

As time winded down, the play got chippy with Joel Rechlicz, Haley, Haskins and Martin defending their teammates against an older University of Moncton squad.

"It's good to see guys stick up for their teammates," said Maclean.


49 Kevin Poulin
35 Peter Mannino

6  Jared Spurgeon – 15 Travis Hamonic
Andrew MacDonald – 5 Jyri Niemi
16 Simon Lacroix – 37 Jordan Hart

29 Matt Martin– 19 Tomas Marcinko – 39 Vladimir Nikiforov
17 Jason Pitton– 11 Justin DiBenedetto – 26 Max Gratchev
24 Joel Rechlicz – 20 Tyler Haskins – 18 Micheal Haley

Click here to watch IslandersTV videos from Training Camp
More from Moncton:

- Click here for Moncton Memos: Day 3
- Click here for Moncton Memos: Day 2
- Click here for Moncton Memos: Day 1
- Players Arrive in Moncton
- Training Camp Primer, Part 1:  Defensemen and Goalies
- Training Camp Primer, Part 2:  Forwards

- Click here for Bridgeport Sound Tigers coverage

Click here to “Ask and Islander”

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