Levittown Dominates Garden City 8-3 To Even Hockey Finals
Ice Falcons' four-goal second period trumps Spiros Markopoulos' pair; championship to be decided Tuesday night.
The Liberty Division championship trophy made an appearance at the end of Sunday night's playoff game at the Bethpage Community Center Ice
Rink, only to be put back in the cardboard box it arrived in.
The Garden City varsity hockey team had a chance to claim its first championship since 2001 with a victory over top-seeded Levittown,
but instead the series will go to a third and deciding game after the Ice Falcons beat the Wings 8-3. The rubber game will be Tuesday
night at Bethpage, but an official starting time was unknown because it was rescheduled from Friday's snowout.
Garden City handed Levittown only its second loss of the season Tuesday night with a 2-1 victory in the series opener, but may have
woken up a sleeping giant in the process.
"(On) Tuesday, a bunch of the articles that came out, nobody really gave us a chance saying 'upset, upset,'" Wings assistant coach
Brian Johnston said. "(Then) they read the (first game) articles and it's definitely going to wake them up a little bit. They're going
to come out and say 'Hey, we need to make a statement and let them know we're not going to just hand it over to them.'"
The Ice Falcons quickly jumped on the board 80 seconds into the game on a goal by David Donohue, the division's leading scorer who
was held in check by the Wings defense in the opener. Phillip Volz answered for Garden City just 2:33 later when his innocent shot from the left
faceoff circle eluded goalie Nick Prossimo, but Joseph Finneran deflected in a shot at 9:41 to retain the Ice Falcons' one-goal lead.
"You would expect that (start) from them because they're already down a game," Wings forward Spiros Markopoulos said. "They just came out strong."
Garden City had trouble clearing the defensive zone all night and it was especially problematic during the pivotal second period. Donohue scored 34 second
s into the session, cashing in a rebound after Wings goalie David Wax stopped an initial point shot. Just 15 seconds later, Finneran stuffed
home another loose puck near the right post as the Ice Falcons exploded for a 4-1 advantage.
"It's been one of the problems that we've had," Johnston said. "When our defense is on, like it was the two games coming in, we don't give
up goals like that."
Markopoulos tried to ignite a Garden City rally when he one-timed a pass from brother Albert past Prossimo for a power-play goal with 10:30
left, but Levittown thwarted any further comeback with goals by John Speelman and Paul Sabo to carry a 6-2 lead into the second break.
Markopoulos picked up his second goal of the game and third of the series with 10:34 left in the game to make it 6-3, but Salvatore Noto
quickly answered 53 seconds later for Levittown and Sabo put up the final exclamation point with 6.7 seconds remaining.
Not surprisingly, the game got more physical as the difference on the scoreboard drew larger. Garden City's Beau Lardner and Sabo were
both penalized for roughing with 1:37 left in the second period and Spiros Markopoulos and Levittown's Chris Pizzo had several run-ins
throughout the game. The latter pair almost came to blows following Markopoulos' second goal.
"There was a little chirping, hitting after the whistle," Spiros Markopoulos said. "They're just trying to make a little statement."
Garden City was already playing without Steve Lanciotti, who was serving the final game of his three-game suspension for his actions at
the end of the regular-season finale against Syosset.
"We were telling the boys 'Look, it's a best-of-three series. We didn't get our way tonight,'" Johnston said. "But we need them to play
smart and stay out of the box and we can't lose anybody for Tuesday night. We're going to get Lanciotti back and that's definitely going to help us."
Also missing was Wings captain Patrick Donahue, who injured his knee the previous night while playing in a travel game. He is out for
Tuesday night's game.
Prossimo, who also started in the opener, was rarely tested and finished with 12 saves. Wax was a lot busier in stopping 29 shots, but
there were no thoughts of pulling him.
"Those aren't the goalie's fault and David's tough enough, he's got ice veins," Johnston said. "He knows that on those that it's not
just him and that's really the defense and they have to clear it out in front."
The Wings expect to have another battle on their hands Tuesday night, but not the lopsided score.
"It will be a good third game," Spiros Markopoulos said. "It will be a more even game and a more closer game than a blowout."
Defenseman Thomas White sends the puck up ice for Garden City. Credit Brian Kacharaba
Garden City's Tim Moynihan (white) completes his pass just before Levittown's Brian Gallart could get there. Credit Brian Kacharaba
The Wings celebrate Phillip Volz's first-period goal that tied it at 1-1. Credit Brian Kacharaba
Garden City goalie David Wax watches Ryan Breck's breakaway attempt go wide. Credit Brian Kacharaba
Garden City's Albert Markopoulos tries to escape Levittown's Daniel Donohue (91) and Kevin Talbot (16). Credit Brian Kacharaba
Levittown's Ryan Breck (10) and Garden City's Sam Bartels watch the action up ice. Credit Brian Kacharaba
The Garden City offense can't get to the puck before it was covered up by Levittown goalie Nick Prossimo. Credit Brian Kacharaba
Garden City's Albert Markopoulos (right) tries to break free from Levittown's Michael Maxwell (15). Credit Brian Kacharaba
The Levittown defense laments the power-play goal scored by Garden City's Spiros Markopoulos (celebrating left). Credit Brian Kacharaba
Garden City's Spiros Markopoulos (left) and Levittown's Chris Pizzo are separated by the referee after a stoppage in play. Credit Brian Kacharaba
There was plenty of physical play during the third period. Credit Brian Kacharaba
Garden City's Spiros Markopoulos (right) goes after Levittown's Chris Pizzo (12) following his second goal. Credit Brian Kacharaba
Garden City's Chris Arena (left) gets knocked off the puck by Levittown's Ryan Maraldo (43). Credit Brian Kacharaba
Levittown's Ryan Breck (far right) collects the puck after goalie Nick Prossimo stops a point shot by Wings defenseman Sam Bartels. Credit Brian Kacharaba
The Wings were ready to hit the ice for Game 2 of the finals. Credit Brian Kacharaba