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Friday, February 3, 2023

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Sunday Showdown for the Ages

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The Kings Park-Commack varsity hockey team has been the cream of the crop this season in the Suffolk County High School Hockey League (SCHSHL). Smithtown-Hauppauge has been right behind them and now with their loss on Monday, Kings Park-Commack could fall out of first place on Sunday evening.

This season in the SCHSHL has been a close knit one. Ten teams set out with the same goal in September, win the county, and now the time is drawing near. Anyone is capable of beating anyone, it seems, and Smithtown-Hauppauge has a strong chance to take down the Knights Sunday.

Losing a close contest 2-1 back in November, the Smithtown-Hauppauge Bulls were handed a controversial victory after a player was added to the Knight’s roster without the proper paperwork being filed.

This leads Sunday to possibly be the tie breaking game in their season series. They will only play twice this season and if the Bulls win, they will tie the Knights in points and own the tiebreaker over the Knights.

The Knights currently sit at 13-3-1 28 pts. After losing to a strong Sachem team 4-2 Monday night. Kings Park-Commack has been paced by the scoring of Michael Brazill and Billy Prange. The duo has combined for 77 points in 17 games. Brazill has scored a varsity leading 24 goals and 42 points. Prange is tied for the league lead in assists at 20.

Their goaltending is possibly the strongest in the league. A tandem of Joseph O’Neil and Conor

McGrane have frustrated opposing offenses all season. They’ve combined to give up an average of 2.06 goals per game and have 3 shutouts to their credit.

On the other side of the ice, Smithtown-Hauppauge has the talent to go toe-to-toe with Kings Park-Commack. They are currently 12-3-2 pts. After coming off a win against West Islip. The Bulls will get a big player back in Bobby Trites on Sunday, just in time for the playoffs and their push for the 1-seed. Trites has scored 7 goals and 9 assists this season before suffering an injury.

The Bulls also have a top-tier goalie duo. Jake Citrin and Luke Pavone have combined to give up an average of 1.81 goals per game and have 4 shutouts between them.

The Bulls offense has been led by the emergence of Peter Petito with 7 goals and 14 assists. Their captain Nick Noce leads the team with 9 goals. It’s the defense that is the heartbeat of this team. They’ve allowed the fewest goals against in varsity hockey this season, with 30. The next closest is Kings Park-Commack, with 37.

The playoffs are fast approaching, starting Wednesday, February 8. This Sunday, January 15, a high-powered offense (Kings Park-Commack), leading the league with 98 goals scored, will, for the second time, meet the best defense (Smithtown-Hauppauge) and try to maintain their first-place standing. The game will take place at the Rinx in Hauppauge — 6:20 p.m.

If you want to tune in and watch this all unfold, you can! It will be broadcast live on YouTube on the LI Sports Network. We hope to see you there or tuned in!