The Flyers Warriors Hockey team hosted the Long Island Warriors in the first game of this “friendly” New York/ Philadelphia rivalry. It was the first in what hopes to be a long-standing rivalry between the two clubs. In keeping with the tradition of the Flyers and Islanders, it was just as feisty as an NHL rivalry.
Due to the fact that the Flyers Warriors field two teams, and are working on their third team, this was the first game in a long time for the Flyers Warriors. Three of the players played in the game versus the Johnstown Generals, #2 Matt Stinger, #3 Andrew Maenner, and #4 Bill Meyer. It’s possible that these three were picked due to numerical order.
First Period Dooms Flyers Warriors
The Flyers Warriors came out flat and looked as if it was their first game in some time. This is not to point fingers, I was one of the worst on the ice, feeling as if I was skating uphill in jello, with horrible reaction time. It was almost as if the Flyers Warrior were channeling their inner Flyers team’s recent play against NY teams as they fell into a hole that they were unable to crawl out of. Long Island jumped out to a big lead against the Flyers Warriors team.
Long Island scored early and often jumping out to a 4-0 lead within the first nine minutes of the game. Eddie Wetherall #86, started the scoring, just 47 seconds into the game. It was his first of two goals scored on the day. The Flyers Warriors had some chemistry issues that resulted in some defense and clearing breakdowns. The speedy LI players took advantage. Head Coach, Brad Marsh, managed the bench, challenging each forward to have a good shift. Assistant Coach, Bob “The Hound” Kelly, also was challenging the defense. One good shift to build on. Coach Marsh was positive and encouraging, until intermission. The Flyers responded shutting down the LI Warriors for the final 11:12 of the period.
Marsh Issues a Challenge
At the end of the first period, LI was leading 4-0. At intermission, Coach Marsh was positive but blunt. He challenged our effort and how some of the Warriors were not playing up to their potential. Marshy’s speech was one of those talks that get you really going. It wasn’t motivational in the Herb Brooks from Miracle speech. It was more of a speech where your parent tells you they are disappointed in your effort. Well, at least that was how I took it.
I also took Coach Marsh’s challenge personally, because I felt my play sucked. From that point on, I decided that I wasn’t not going to get outworked or not skate hard. I owed it to these great Warrior teammates, to the coaches, and especially to Team Captain, Timmy Wynn, who asked me to play. I apparently wasn’t the only Warrior to take it personally as the Flyers Warriors started to play at a higher level.
Flyers take Control
You could sense the momentum changing. Long Island added two more quick goals to take a 6-0 lead. The Flyers Warriors, however, started to play better hockey as they continued to gel together. They started to put together good shift after good shift. Even when the LI Warriors scored, the Flyers Warriors were putting together good quality shifts, but just couldn’t get the puck past the LI goaltender, #35 Jimmy Dantonio.
It wasn’t until 10:25 of the second period that the Flyers Warriors finally scored. Forward and Army veteran, #90 Matt Fastnacht’s shot on goal rebounded to defenseman and Navy veteran and Corpman #93 Mike “Doc” Rutcosky who buried the puck. The Flyers played the better period on the ice, but the LI played the better period on the score sheet. At the end of the second, the LI Warriors led 6-1.
Third Period… Not good enough
The Flyers Warriors won the third-period score-wise. They had two goals to Long Island’s one. Army Veteran and forward #5 Jamie Sparenga and #3 Maenner, a Marine Corp veteran, each scored. The play continued back and forth and the Flyers Warriors pushed the pace, but it wasn’t enough as the Flyers Warriors could not overcome the deficit. The LI Warriors won the first game of the rivalry 7-3.
The game was what you would expect out of a bunch of veterans getting together. Neither team wanted to give ground. There were body checks, “active” sticks, and “chippy” plays all around. Scrums after the whistle on a couple of occasions would have Tim Saunders claiming “we got sticks up high!” It was a fun hockey game.
Flyers Warriors’ Captain Timmy Wynn stated the following:
“It was a good learning experience for our team. We had six players who suited up for their very first game as a Warrior, so it wasn’t a total loss. We will definitely build on this and get ready for the next game.”
As for the LI Warriors, the following scored goals: #6 Alec Sheridan scored two, followed by #82John Kafentzis, #8 Robert Schembri, and #13 Robert Auletta.
As said before, the game was the first of the season for this Warriors team. The six players who were making their debut were #6 William Wolf, #16 Cyndee Shankin, #47 Kevin Black, #52 Brian Lounsberry, #53 David Meltzer, and goaltender #64 Brittany Shortall. Congratulations to these Warriors on their debut. The following is the roster of the game:
Black, a Navy veteran, stated the following:
“Yesterday was the first time since I separated that I got to wear the American Flag on my uniform. It would have been great to get the win. Now we have a sense of where we are as a team, and we can begin to map out how to get where we want to be.”
The Warriors will continue to work hard as the schedule starts to take shape. Next up the Flyers Warriors, they host the Delaware County Corrections at the Pennsauken Flyers Skate Zone. The game is Sunday, April 11 at 1:30 PM.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre