Last weekend the Long Island 495ers traveled to Feasterville, Pennsylvania to open their season at the first AIHL Festival of the year. The 495ers organization has added fire power to both teams and the Elite team has a new Head coach. Along with the season opener the Long island 495ers have revealed their new uniforms. It was a secret for a long time but the teams popped out of their locker room with some fresh and crisp looking jerseys.
The Elite team headed by new Head Coach Tim McManus put together a stellar team on paper adding players like Greg Thompson, John McGuiness, Brendan Nelson and goal tender J.P. Susco. But they had to show everyone in the league that actions speak louder than words. The 495ers went into full action all right, out scoring their opponents 40-5.
“We have a solid team with a deep bench and that showed this weekend. Still, we have much to work on and have to clean up some things defensively. Over all we had a great weekend and we will take the 4-0 record,” Captain Greg Thompson stated.
Coach Tim McManus added, “I was very pleased with our performance. I thought for our opening games, we played very well and showed a lot of poise. It was great to see all the players contributing as I was able to play all players in all circumstances on the rink. I am excited for the rest of the season and to watch our team continue to grow and get better game by game.”
Assistant Captain Jon Mosenson led the point total with seven goals, eight assists, while new comers John McGuiness led the team in goals with nine goals and three assists; Travis Bokina added eight goals and four assists and Captain Greg Thompson had ten assists. Goal tender J.P. Susco went 3-0 with a 0.924 save percentage between the pipes and veteran Pete Pennecke also won a game.
The defending Minor League Champions also had some things on their minds.
“Everyone is gunning for us this year. We have to be better this year than last year. We are the team to beat.” Assistant Coach Jim Metz told the team in the locker room.
The team added some depth this year with defensemen Michael Scardigno, Matthew Edwards and Vincent Polsinelli, and goaltenders Mike Genova and Nick Gullo. The 495ers took the first game against Potomac 9-4. The second game was another rematch of the last two years of the Eastern Conference Championship against the Richmond Robbins. After a battle and a ton of power plays for both teams, the Robbins finally got some payback scoring in overtime. Then in a surprise move, John Schiavo joined the team Sunday morning and helped the 495ers beat Scottsdale 4-3 in overtime. The last game was also won with a 9-4 win over the Demons from Delco. The minor team went 3-0-0-1 for the weekend.
“I am really proud of the guys and pleased with the results from the weekend. Although we didn’t play our best hockey, we proved that we could win big hockey games when facing adversity. We are a strong team with depth up and down our line up. We have an excellent coaching staff and team organization. We are on our way to defend the National Championship.” Captain Steve Sharkey said.
Rookie Defensemen Matt Edwards who had three big goals during the weekend and leads the team with 9 points stated “It’s great to be playing with the team this year. We have a lot of confidence in each other and the coaching staff to accomplish our goal to repeat as National Champs. Even though we went down 2-0 in the first three games the team didn’t panic, we played our game knowing we would get it done.”
Matt Metz leads the team with five goals, two being power plays, and Vinny Bianco and Erik Molzahn each have seven points.
“I am very proud of the way the organization represented themselves the whole weekend. Everyone was very impressed with our new uniforms. It was great to see the Elite team bounce back from last year. The minors looked good and we just need a little tweaking. We are a family and that is what holds us together. I would also like to thank Tim McManus for his hard work off the rink and a special thanks to Pro Joy Jerseys for a great job they did and of course to our equipment sponsor Mission Hockey for the gloves and pants.”
The 495ers travel across Long Island to play the New York Terror January 8, 2012.