SAUGERTIES – In the Kings Park/Commack locker room before the New York State Amateur Hockey Association Club Tournament final, Luke Desilva made a pledge to his coach.
“He said to me, ‘Coach, I’m not leaving without the trophy,’” Kings Park/Commack coach Steven Dorf said. “He took it to another level and I’m very happy to see that.”
Desilva netted a hat trick to help lead Kings Park/Commack to a 12-3 win over East Islip Sunday at Kiwanis Ice Arena and cap the program’s first-ever state title.
“It feels really good that the boys came together for this,” Desilva said. “It’s just an unbelievable feeling.”
Kings Park/Commack (20-7) went 4-1 during the three-day tournament, opening with decisive wins over a Northport/Huntington team that beat them twice during the regular season, and Arlington.
Kings Park/Commack lost to Smithtown/Hauppauge in their final game of pool play before beating Ward Melville, 5-0, in the semifinals Sunday morning. Goaltender Colin Tinschert earned the shutout.
East Islip (15-11) opened the tournament with a win over FDR, but a loss to Ward Melville set up a must win against John Lay and the Redmen pulled out a 10-3 victory before a stunning 4-2 win over defending champion Smithtown/Hauppauge with goaltender Tim Brillaud making more than 50 saves in a brilliant performance.
In the final, Kings Park/Commack came out flying, outshooting East Islip, 20-9, in the first period and opening up a 4-1 lead on goals by Nick Ceccharini, Tristan Herbert and a pair by Desilva.
East Islip, which lost to Kings Park/Commack in the SCHSHL quarterfinals, roared back on back-to-back goals by Kyle Sapia after an opening tally by Nick Dellamorte.
But a breakaway goal by Zack James sent Kings Park/Commack into the locker room with a two-goal lead.
That’s when the reinforcements came.
Rocco DiCostanzo and Matthew Minerva were at a travel tournament in Darien and arrived in Saugerties just in time to meet their team as they walked off the ice after the second.
“We had no clue. We didn’t know how long their championship game was going to last,” Desilva said. “We were just trying to fend off and wait for them to come. We were all tired on the bench. We somehow managed to pull through and then once they came we just kept scoring.”
DiCostanzo scored twice, his first coming just nine seconds into the third period, Minerva had a hat trick and Desilva and Herbert added tallies in a seven-goal third that secured a first-ever state title and a berth in the USA Hockey National Championships in Cleveland from March 30-April 3 for Kings Park/Commack.
The championship was emotional for Dorf, a Kings Park lifer. He thought from the beginning of the season he had a special team and didn’t let a one-goal loss to Smithtown/Hauppauge in the SCHSHL semifinals deter his squad from their ultimate goal.
“This is so sweet. I’ve known these guys for a long time,” Dorf said. “I said to my coaches before the season, we’re winning nationals. All season there was a vision. We had a bigger plan than [the Suffolk title]. This was our plan and we’re not done.”