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Massapequa’s ‘Miracle on Ice’

Boys’ hockey team rallies to win state title

It was another busy weekend in the world of Massapequa high school sports.

The boys’ hockey team won the State AAU title, Joe Caraciolo became the state’s long jump champion and the girls’ basketball team fell short in their bid to win the Nassau County Class AA title.

The hockey crown capped another great year for the Chiefs, who had earlier won the Town of Oyster Bay title. This was the third consecutive year that the Chiefs had qualified for the state titles. This year, they were considered underdogs, but through hard work, perseverance, and the dedication to the memory of a former teammate, they came through.

In the state tournament, played in Amherst, Massapequa, on March 2, played St. Francis to a 2-2 tie. On that same day, Massapequa turned it around, defeating St. Joseph’s, 5-3. On March 3, Massapequa advanced to the championship round, defeating Hutch Tech, 7-2.

That set the stage for the semifinals and finals.

On March 4, Massapequa defeated St. Francis, 4-3 and in the state championship game played later in the day, they topped Lancaster, 3-1.

The St. Francis win featured exciting come-from-behind heroics from the Chiefs. Trailing 3-2 going into the final frame, Massapequa tied the score and then scored a goal in overtime to win.

In the finals, the Chiefs broke a 1-1 tie in the second half with a goal and then scored an insurance goal in the third quarter to win, 3-1.

In the win over St. Francis, Pat Luongo and Joe Giammarino kept Massapequa in the game with two second period goals. The Luongo goal received assists by Anthony Mangone and Brendan Cummings, while Giammarino’s goal got an assist from Gary Stocker. With 1:30 left in the game – and possibly the season – Jake Zimmerman scored a goal to send the game into sudden death. In overtime, the Chiefs wasted no time, as Nick Mangone scored on a pass from Bobby Oldmixon only 26 seconds into the extra frame.

In the finals, James Jiritano got Massapequa on the board in the first quarter, with an assist from Gary Stocker. Nick Mangone, with assists from Chris Kiernan and Anthony Mangone, scored the go-ahead goal and Bobby Oldmixon, receiving an assist this time from Nick Mangone, scored the final goal for the comfortable win. All throughout the tournament, Dana DeMartino, the only female player in the tournament, anchored the Chiefs defense.

The Chiefs dedicated their championship season to former player and Coach Edward J. Fulford, who passed away last summer. In honor of Fulford, each player wears his initials on their jersey.

“I have never been more proud of any team I have coached,” said Coach Tony DeMayo. “The will to win at the tournament was there from the time we boarded the bus at MHS, until the cup was lifted. Overcoming all odds, we battled through every challenge that was thrown at us and prevailed. This is the Massapequa High School version of “The Miracle on Ice.”

For the season, Pat Luongo and Chris Kiernan were named South Division All Stars.

Long Jump Champion

In the long jump drama, held at Cornell University in Ithaca, Caraciolo saved his best effort for the exact right time, taking the title with a jump of 22 feet, six inches, edging out Donovan Wallace of Wilson Magnet by a half an inch.

Meanwhile, big wins took the Massapequa High School girls basketball squad to the finals of the Nassau County Class AA title game. However, the season came to an end on Saturday as Baldwin High School won their third consecutive Class AA title, topping Massapequa 62-41.

Playing on the road, the Lady Chiefs could never get on track. Usually, Massapequa roars out to an early lead and then holds for the win. However, in the title game, Baldwin jumped out to a 15-4 first quarter lead and although Massapequa bounced back in the second and third quarters, they could not mount a serious charge as Baldwin pulled ahead in the fourth quarter for the win.

Morgan Roessler was the top scorer for Massapequa with 13 points, including two three-pointers. Nicole Scicutella chipped in with eight points.

Despite the loss, the game represented was the first time since 2009 that Massapequa advanced to the county finals. For the 2011-2012 season, Massapequa finished with a 17-3 record overall and a 11-1 record in Conference AA-I play, where they finished in first place, one game ahead of Uniondale, completing another winning season and solidifying Massapequa’s place as one of the perennial powerhouses in girls basketball.

The Lady Chiefs started their playoff run with a 53-36 win over Freeport.

Playing at home, Massapequa followed their familiar pattern of getting off to a quick start and then wearing down their opponents. Against Freeport, Massapequa jumped out to a 15-10 first quarter lead, buttressed it with a 15-5 third quarter run, before holding off Freeport in the final frame for the win.

Leading the way for Massapequa was Morgan Roessler with 17 points, followed by Danielle Doherty and Nicole Scicutella with nine points each. In the middle Lauren Van Buren pulled down 16 rebounds.

In the 53-36 semifinal game win over MacArthur Massapequa jumped out to a modest 12-10 first quarter lead, one that they expanded to a 30-19 half time advantage. Morgan Roessler scored all of her 14 points in the first half, helping to give Massapequa a lead they would never relinquish.

Leading the way for Massapequa in the second half was Lauren Van Buren, who ended the game with 10 points and 10 rebounds. As usual, the scoring attack was well balanced with 10 players registering points. Both Taylor Byrne and Rachel Sieber contributed all-important three-point goals.

-Carol Oldmixon contributed to this article.