Farmingdale Ice Hockey Upsets Cold Spring Harbor

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Joe Dwyer, Staff Writer

It was all just a dream until around September 2015.

 

Farmingdale? Ice Hockey? No way that’s gonna work. It’s a football town.

 

At the very first meeting in September, just to see who was interested, there was barely enough to fill a team. But it worked. Farmingdale Ice Hockey was a thing. We picked our jersey numbers, got to know each other, and the first practices were a few weeks later. The season went from the beginning of October to February. A bunch of kids who (for the most part) just met each other, playing together on a team, against other schools with kids who have been playing together for years?

 

How do you think that would work out?

 

The answer is not good. Not good at all.

 

*2015-16 Season*

 

Two wins. Out of 18 games. Two.

 

Only upside? Both of those wins were against Massapequa. But in the big picture that means nothing. The season was a failure. We scored a lot, had a lot of fun together no doubt, but in the back of our minds we all knew how the season was ending: Without the playoffs. For the juniors at the time, this was probably their last time playing high school hockey, as there was no Varsity team for the seniors. Everyone left the rink after the last game on that cold February evening with a sick feeling in their stomachs. Only the underclassmen could change what went on that year for the future.

 

*2016-17 Season*

 

With some players leaving and new players joining, the goal was still the same. Just improve from last year. No championship was expected. Just a little bit of improvement. The team was mostly the same, the coaches the same, the crowd that showed up to every game was still the same. The games went on and for a short time 1st place was a reality. At the end of the regular season, the Dalers had made the playoffs. No one expected this. First matchup? The powerhouse of Bellmore-Merrick, who have beat up the Dalers both physically and on the scoreboard for the past two years. Just a few weeks earlier the Bulldogs defeated the Dalers 2-1 in a heartbreaking fashion, scoring with 40.4 seconds left to take the lead.

 

This new Dalers hockey team was tired of losing to this team 6 times in the past two years. They wanted revenge. And that’s what they got.

 

Before the game, Farmingdale’s Matt Ferrari didn’t expect to do well. “I’m going to be double-covered. And I haven’t been playing well lately,” he said. He proved to be dead wrong.

 

Ferrari scored 4 goals in the game. Joey Schuler with 1, and Brian Quinn also scored 1 in a 6-2 defeat of the Bellmore-Merrick Bulldogs. Looks of disbelief were evident through each of the Bulldogs’ players faces, including the coaches. Not only did this mean that Farmingdale was going to the Nassau County Championship, it meant that they qualified for the New York State Tournament as well. Who’d have thought this would happen in their second year of existence? Everyone. Because every single coach, every single player on that team, every single parent, and every single student who knew about this team and has seen them, believed. They were confident in winning no matter what. The mindset from last year to this year took a complete turn for the better and it helped.

 

On to the Championship. Farmingdale vs. Cold Spring Harbor. Valentine’s day, 2017. The entire left section of the stands at the Town of Oyster Bay was filled with parents, other relatives, and most of all, students. This was the first time watching the team for most of them. They had no idea what they were in for, and I don’t think a single person in that arena knew what would take place that night.

 

The puck dropped and the beginning wasn’t pretty. By the end of the 1st period is was already 2-0 Seahawks. They took charge from the beginning of the game and it seemed that the Dalers just flat out could not skate with them. The second period showed little change, with the Seahawks scoring again, quickly making it 3-0. The refs were calling almost everything against the green team. Brian Michael and Joey Schuler laid out big hits, showing the other team that Farmingdale was not ready to give up. Not the players, not the fans, not anyone. They were there to win no matter what.

 

Late in the second period, Matt Ferrari, coming off his 4 goal performance, blazed up the ice past the defense and scored to make it 3-1. It was a start, right? The student section was going crazy, as were the parents. The confidence started spreading through the whole team. And it showed. The Dalers started dominating the game.

 

With a shot from the point, just to throw it on net, Joey Schuler was trying to make something out of what seemed like nothing, and freshman Liam McDonald tipped it in. 3-2, they were coming back. Cold Spring Harbor’s players were getting scared and you could tell. There was no stopping Farmingdale at this point. The game did a complete 180° turn in favor of the Dalers.

 

After a while the players started to get tired, just dumping and changing, getting new players on the ice. But the top line of Bobby Venth, Matt Ferrari, and Brian Quinn stayed out there. The fans had hope. Everyone did. Just like they did all year. With 3 minutes left, Bobby Venth was left wide open and Matt Ferrari saw him. He passed the puck past the defender and right on Venth’s stick.

 

Wide open net. Goal. Tie game.

 

The arena was shaking. For the people who had never seen the team before that night, they didn’t know what to think. They were in awe, with “Let’s go Dalers” chants going on for at least 30 seconds. Everyone was high giving each other and hugging one another because we all believed. The whole third period, junior and goalie Mikey Muccio-Schrimpe did not allow one shot past him. He kept the Dalers in the game and gave the team an extra boost which led to the 3 goals to tie it. With some extra big stops in the last minutes of the game, the dreaded word came to mind and became a reality.

 

Overtime.

 

The crowd was ready, at least 200 people. However it was easy to tell that everyone in the arena at this point was nervous. It was easy to make a mistake. The puck dropped, and about a minute in, Matt Ferrari again comes in one-on-one with the goalie. The Seahawks defenseman comes from behind him and out of desperation, he trips Ferrari. Not once, but twice. Which warrants a penalty shot. In overtime.

 

One-on-one. Ferrari vs. the goalie. No one else.

 

The players went to their respective benches and the crowd was in absolute silence. The always cool, calm and collected junior Matt Ferrari skated a couple times until the whistle blew. He was ready, unlike the rest of us.

 

If he scored, Farmingdale would win their first championship. If he missed, the game would continue in overtime. Everyone had their eyes on #10.

 

The whistle blew, he skated towards the goalie, did a fake move, the goalie fell backwards. Matt saw his chance to shoot.

 

Goal.

 

Nassau County Champions.