By: Mary-Elizabeth McCourt
The Long Beach Varsity Ice Hockey Team is one of the most successful and popular teams Long Beach High School has to offer. Every game is packed with students, faculty, and the residents of Long Beach eager to root for their high school. Despite being a club team, the Marines were ranked fifth on Long Island following Portledge, Ward Melville, St. Anthony’s, and Northport/ Huntington respectively.
The Marines went 11-3 during the 2014-15 season, including wins against St. Josephs, Plainedge, and Bellmore Merrick, earning them the number one seed in the Small School State Championship.
This year, the State Championship was held in the new state-of-the-art world-class Eisenhower Twin Rinks which features two NHL sized rinks, one smaller outdoor rink, training facilities, physical therapy facilities, and hockey-smarts classrooms. It was a privilege for the Marines to compete in one of the nicest arenas on Long Island.
Long Beach was victorious in their first three games against Manhasset, Iroquois, and St. Josephs. Unfortunately, the semi-final game went to Starpoint in a frustrating 4-2 loss. Despite Marine efforts by skating hard and controlling the majority of the game, they were shut down by Starpoint’s goaltender Kevin Zientara.
The Marines were led by captain Kevin Brand, and alternate captains James Delahanty and William Guido. Larry Niland led the team with 31 goals. Between the pipes was senior goaltender Marc Pittinsky, following in the footsteps of his older brother, Harris Pittinsky, who was on the 2012-13 Championship Team. Pittinsky gave up a mere 20 goals this season, leading the league in GAA (goals against average). He also broke the league record.
Overall, the Marines forced over 100 goals. Long Beach Marines coach Joseph Brand, has been coaching for over 20 years. He has won 13 Nassau County Championships with the Long Beach Marines and three State Titles. Coach Brand has also appeared in the National Tournament. In 2000, he was named “Mr. Hockey” by former Long Beach Recreation Commissioner Robert Carroll.
Long Beach has a great ice hockey program, and is one of the few schools on Long Island with it’s own ice arena. The Long Beach ice arena is home to the Long Beach Apple Core, a Tier II travel organization that prepares youth hockey players to play at the Varsity and Junior Hockey Levels. Congratulations to the 2014-15 Long Beach Marines on another great season!