Following a dominating 16-4-1 season in Nassau, claiming the top-ranked position in the Michelino Division and winning the county title, the Long Beach Marines took home their second New York State championship in a row last weekend — their third in 14 years.
Long Beach Head Coach Joe Brand watched his hockey team finish the preliminary rounds of the tournament with 1-1-1 record, qualifying them for the championship rounds on Sunday as the No. 3 seed.
The Marines started the preliminary round with a tie in game one against Starpoint, the top-ranked western division team, and a 5-4 loss to Southwest Maple Grove in game two.
However, Brand's team turned it all around during a 5-4 win against Cheektowaga in game three on Saturday — qualifying the team for the semifinals in the process.
“We found another gear Saturday night and didn’t take our foot off the gas for a second,” Brand said. “We had contributions from freshmen players who held their own against much bigger and stronger kids.”
The Marines met Starpoint once again in semifinals of championship round, this time scoring three quick goals in the first period and cruising to a dominating 8-2 victory.
“Once we got cooking, the crowd picked the kids up and they fed off of their energy,” Brand explained. “They really did an admiral job.”
Marines goalie Harris Pittinsky, the eventual tournament MVP, shut the door in the finals and provided his team with a championship-winning shutout in a 5-0 victory over Clevelend Hills.
“We just clicked,” Pittinsky said. “We just fed off our desire to win and be known as the state champions.”
“This is something we will take with us in the future,” he added.
In February, Long Beach swept Syosset to win the Nassau County Championship.
Last year, the Marines, playing their first season playing in the Suffolk County High School Hockey League, defeated the Connetquot/Sayville T-Birds in the championship game, and then skated to victory against the Hudson Valley’s Arlington Admirals to take the state title.