Posted on September 23, 2013 at 10:29 PM by Johnz
Royals tame Wildcats for first wins of 2013-14 season
by Kevin McCall
A combination of returning and new players powered the Long Island Royals to two victories in three games against the Jersey Wildcats to open the 2013-14 regular season.
The Royals began their run toward a third consecutive Mullen Division title with a disappointing 7-6 shootout loss to Jersey on Sept. 14 at Aspen Ice in Randolph, N.J. But Ken Hoey's squad charged back with a 5-1 win in its home opener Saturday before taking the rubber game of the series 6-5 on Sunday. A different goaltender started in net for the Royals in all three games.
With the Royals facing a 4-3 deficit heading into the third period of the season opener, forwards Brandon McLennan and Matt O'Shaugnessy scored on Gennaro Anzevino within the first minute of the final period of regulation to put Long Island up 5-4. After Ryan Muscatella put the Wildcats ahead forward Joe Bonsignore sent the game into overtime with his first goal of the season, which came unassisted at the 17:56 mark. The contest moved into a shootout after a scoreless overtime period and Muscatella fired the puck past Royals goaltender Ian Wallace for the game-winner. Muscatella finished with a game-high three goals while Royals defenseman Brett Rooney dished out three assists.
O'Shaughnessy and Nick Tarasco proved to be a lethal combination of forwards on Long Island's top line when the team hosted the Wildcats on Saturday in Dix Hills. Tarasco had a hand in all three first period goals, assisting on the first and third and scoring the second on Anzevino. Rooney added a power play goal in front of the net for the Royals to put the team up the 3-0 after the first frame. Each side scored in the second period, but Royals goalie Sal Lauretta didn't let anything go by him for the remainder of the game. He stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced in his first start of the season.
The Royals' victory at the Dix Hills Ice Arena was the 12th consecutive regular season win at home dating back to the 2012-13 season.
Five goals in the final period of Sunday's matchup in Randolph helped the Royals rebound from a slow start. In a penalty-ridden second period, forward Chris DeAngelis connected with forward Harry Wilmerding to cut the Wildcats' lead to 3-1. Forward Anthony Koslow assisted on two goals for O'Shaughnessy, who finished the game with three, but the Wildcats made the contest interesting with a power play score from Gage Malinowski with two and a half minutes to go. John Burgdoerfer was able to seal the win in net for the Royals down the stretch.
The Royals have still not lost in regulation this season, as the team is taking a 2-0-1 record into this weekend's MJHL Central Division Showcase at the Ice House in Hackensack. The four showcase games will include a matchup against the two-time defending champion New Jersey Rockets.
You can catch the Royals in their next home game at 2 p.m. October 6 when they face off against the New York Metro Fighting Moose in another Mullen Division matchup.