By Joshua Boyd / USPHLNCDC.com
The P.A.L. Jr. Islanders are your 2022-23 NCDC Dineen Cup Champions, having won the decisive Game 3 by a 6-2 score against the South Shore Kings on April 2 at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow, N.Y.
The Jr. Islanders staved off elimination and a potential Kings title win on Saturday in Game 2, when Dino Mannetta scored with 3:47 remaining and D.J. Walsh scored in OT to give the Jr. Isles new life and a Game 3 to make good on their promise as the highest seed remaining in the playoffs.
In Game 3 on Sunday, Owen Vilhauer started the scoring at 11:05 of the first period assisted by Dustin Patterson. He sent in a blast from the top of the slot.
Less than two minutes later, at 13:01, Heikki Virtanen found solo space next to the net to bang in a rebound for a 2-0 lead after one period. Ty Broad and Mannetta assisted.
Into the second period, Carter Hanrahan gave the Jr. Islanders a 3-0 lead. He went on a break, pulled off a sweet drag move and sent it home. Jack Hewitt and Tyler Rolston assisted.
At the 16:32 mark, Karim Gayfullin scored the South Shore Kings’ first goal, which was assisted by Sacred Heart commit Jack Hillier and Salvatore Cerrato. Gayfullin pounced on a rebound off a chance created by Hillier.
Shane Zarcone made life especially difficult for the Kings with his goal at the nine-minute mark of the third period, assisted by Luca Leighton and D.J. Walsh. Walsh sent a pass to Zarcone who was right in front to stuff it through the pads for a 4-1 lead.
At the 2:12 mark, Hillier scored to give new life to the Kings’ push to tie the game. Assisted by Charles Killian, Hillier had a sweet blast from the top of the right faceoff circle.
Empty net goals by Jack Hewitt (17:46) and Tyler Rolston (18:35) sealed the deal and gave the Jr. Islanders the biggest win of their NCDC existence.
Captains Cameron Smith and Luca Leighton gladly and proudly received the Dineen Cup from Commissioner Bob Turow.
The United States Premier Hockey League wishes the P.A.L. players, parents, billet parents, fans, coaching staff, extended staff and ownership for winning the 2022-23 Dineen Cup Championship!