It was the tale of two very different games Saturday as the AIHL season began in the New England division. Each team cruised to decisive victories, each by the score of 7-4.
Game One was all 495ers from the first drop of the puck. Only 13 seconds in, the defending division champs put the pressure on quickly, forcing the Sharks to take a penalty. Quickly the power play would connect as Greg Pantaleo would score the first of five power play goals for the 495ers in the game. Jonathan Mosenson added to the lead a few minutes later while again on the power play. Then to take a three goal lead, the goal of the night was scored on an incredible end to end highlight reel rush by Mike Rotola. The Sharks Rob Lopinto scored to cut the lead to two, but a second goal by Jon Mosenson would cap the first period scoring, yielding a 4-1 lead for the 495ers.
The Sharks crawled back into the game early in the second with a great short handed effort by Chad Dasarro. It was then the 495ers (Mazzie, D;Agostino, Pantaleo) that scored three straight to put the game out of reach. The Sharks did manage to score two late goals by Gomes and Baldwin.
Noteable was that Sharks starter Sal Capito was pulled after the 495ers 6th goal and was replaced by Keith Diprima who stopped 11 of 12 in the last 13 plus minutes of the second half. 495ers goalie Craig Brodmerkel earned the victory stopping 17 of 21 shots enroute to his first of the year. The Sharks took 9 minor penalties while the 495ers powerplay went 5 for 8.
Game two was quite a different story for both squads. It was the Sharks that struck quickly in game two. Rob Lopinto scored just 35 seconds in. CJ Teifenwerth scored 2 minutes later for the 495ers to pull even, but then the Sharks then quickly tallied 3 goals to pull out to a 4-1 lead. Back to back goals by Mike Prainito and another by Lopinto all with in one minute and thirty seconds leaving the 495ers bench in shock. After a timeout the 495ers responded before the end of the period scoring a powerplay goal by Pantaleo and a short handed tally by Mosenson. It had appeared Long Island tied the game moments later as the puck appeared to cross the goal line, but slick positioning by Sharks goalie Keith Diprima did not enable the referee too see what could have been a game tying goal. The Sharks added a powerplay goal by Prainito (his third of the game) to take a 5-3 lead into the break. The second period was a steady march to the box for both teams as they combined for 22 minutes in penalties. The snails pace seems to create no flow to allow Long Island back in the game. Suffolk scored two power play goals (Lopinto & Prainito) to stretch the game to 7-3. The 495ers Joe Mazzie scored a power play goal to cap the games scoring, as the Sharks skated away with a 7-4 victory of their own.
Keith Diprima of the Sharks earned the victory stopping 30 of 34 LI shots. Pete Pennecke’s LI debut was a short one as he was lifted after giving up 6 goals on 15 shots. Craig Brodmerkel stopped 8 of 9 as he played the last 12 minutes of the game. The Sharks powerplay was 3 for 6 while the 495ers were 2 for 7.
It was a promising start to a comepetive New England Division season.
-Written by Anthony Flynn