The GNY Stars are proud to be sending 2 teams to the NYS Tournament next month. The Bantam AA and 16UAA finished first and second respectively in their sectional playoffs held Feb 16-18th to determine who will represent the Eastern Zone as the top two teams in each level advance. Both teams played a grueling five game schedule over the course of three days but were up to the challenge that enabled them to compete for the coveted NYS Championship against all of the other zone winners.
Despite going 20-0 in their league schedule, the Bantam AA still had to prove they were worthy of a ticket to States. They started out with a convincing 4-1 win over the Westchester Vipers on Friday night. Their next game was much closer in terms of score as they beat the Long Beach Lightning by the razor thin margin of 3-2. They closed out Saturday with an evening game against the Cyclones, a team they beat handily twice during the regular season. This one, however, would end up in a surprising 1-1 tie which left the team little room for error in their remaining games and with the two toughest opponents still to play. The last day brought a new challenge for the team as they looked to settle down from the disappointing tie and set out to establish the dominance they displayed all season. Outscoring the Nassau County Lions and LI Rebels by a combined score of 10-2, the Bantam AA team left no doubt they were the superior team over the course of the weekend.
As good as the 16UAA team was all season, they still finished tied for 2nd as there were a couple of teams equal to the task and the road to States seemed a little more daunting for them. Their first two games against the Freeport Arrows(2-0) and PAL(9-0) were defensive gems as they did not allow a goal in either of those contests. It was a great start and good momentum heading into the third game against the LI Rebels, the team they were tied with for 2nd place. As expected the game was a tight knit affair with the Rebels coming out on top 3-2 to stall the enthusiasm that States were on the horizon. The good thing is hopes were not crushed and there was a still path to be found as the team bounced back with a resounding shutout win in game four over the Icecats by a score of 5-0. Again there was momentum and confidence and the good news is that all that was needed in their last game was a win or a tie to advance, however, it was against the first place Long Island Edge who needed to win to advance. It was a well played back and forth battle with very little scoring as goals were hard to come by. In the end the clock was the Stars ally as they "won" by tying the Edge 3-3.
A special acknowledgement to the goalie tandem on Bantam AA of Michael Grima and Gabriel Fomin who allowed only 6 goals in 5 games and to the 16UAA goalie Michael Marino who only allowed a remarkable 4 goals in 5 games and recorded 3 shutouts.
Congrats to coaches Matt Davie Jr., Brendan Tracy, Jeff Van Zant(Bantam AA), Sean O'Brien, Michael Davie, Adam Diorio(16UAA) and all of the players and parents on both teams.
Good luck at States!!