NYI Peewee 18, Jiamusi 0
Goaltender John Blair earned his first shutout as a PAL Jr. Islander in his peewee club’s final game of their international tournament in Harbin, China. Each member of the team scored a goal to finish the tournament 3-1-0, good for second place.
NYI Bantam 7, Qiqihar 1
NYI Bantam 4, Russia Chita 0
The Pal Jr. Islanders bantam club played a double-header Sunday, with games at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. After cruising to a 7-1 win over Qiqihar in the early game, they relied heavily on goaltender Jacob Zacharewicz in the afternoon tilt. Zacharewicz responded with an 18-save shutout as the Islanders defeated Russia Chita 7-1 in the final game of the tournament. Nicholas Alvarado, Jake Giannone, Matthew Crasa and Britt Bischoff scored in the tight-checking affair. The Bantam’s concluded tournament play with a 3-1-0 record, good for second place.
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NYI Peewee 5, Beijing 3
DJ Walsh scored two goals and one assist as the PAL Jr. Islanders peewee team defeated Beijing 5-3 Saturday morning in Harbin. Beijing defenseman Zhu Qizhang gave the Islanders defensemen fits throughout the game and scored his first of two goals just 57 seconds into the first period. The Islanders responded midway through the frame with three straight goals from Cole Brennan, Walsh and Tim Duffy. After exchanging goals in the second period, the teams headed into the third with the Islanders ahead 4-2. Qizhang’s second goal of the game drew Bejing within a goal early in the final frame, but Walsh stymied the comeback bid with his second goal in the final 1:44 of regulation.
Russia 8, NYI Bantam 2
The PAL Jr. Islanders bantam team suffered its first loss of the tournament Saturday afternoon, falling to a strong Russian team 8-2. John Riggins and Shane Coleman each scored for the Islanders, who struggled to stay out of the penalty box during the physical game. The bantam squad looks to rebound Sunday, when they play their final two games of the tournament.
Harbin 6, NYI Peewee 1
The PAL Jr. Islanders peewee team could not make a 1-0 lead hold up against a hometown Harbin club, falling 6-1 Saturday night. The Peewees fell to 2-1 in the tournament. They'll close out their schedule Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. local time.
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The PAL Jr. Islanders Bantam and Peewee teams each won their opening games in Harbin, China on Friday. The Bantam’s prevailed in a nail biter against an impressive Harbin team playing on home ice, while the Peewees cruised to a victory over Qiqihar.
NYI BANTAMS 3, HARBIN 2
Islanders captain Jake Giannone and assistant captain Danny Weight scored goals 1:14 apart in the second period to lift the Islanders to a 3-2 win over Harbin. Playing in front of a sizeable home crowd, an energized Team Harbin tilted the ice towards the Jr. Isles end early on, but could not capitalize. Goaltender Jacob Zacharewicz kept Harbin at bay with key stops in the opening period and forward Britt Bischoff gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead late in the frame. Harbin tied the score in the second period, but two quick strikes from Giannone and Weight opened up a two-goal lead after 40 minutes. Harbin surged in the third period and cut the deficit to a goal in the final minute of regulation, but could not find the equalizer.
NYI PEEWEE 10, QIQIHAR 2
Anthony De Lorenzo had a hat trick and eight different Islanders scored goals in an emphatic 10-2 win over Team Qiqihar. The Jr. Isles scored five goals in the opening period and did not allow a shot until midway through the second. Cole Brennan was credited with a goal and two assists, while physical forward Timothy Duffy had a two-point night (one goal, one assist).
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As the PAL Jr. Islanders tour through China entered its sixth day, two phrases had come to play crucial roles in the trip’s ongoing success.
The first was “sticky rice.” As in, “approximately 20,000 other people also thought today would be a good day to visit Tiananmen Square (Pictures Here), so when we get out of this tour bus, we’re going to be tighter than sticky rice.” (It turns out there are a lot of metaphors involving rice in China.)
The second phrase amounts to “go with it – you’re in China.” Is there a head still attached to your dinner? Give it a shot. Did the Chinese dignitary pour the parents another glass of that 100-proof rice spirit? Bottoms up ("Gom bui" translates to "dry the cup").
After six days of flights, sticky rice (both literal and figurative) and general culture shock, the Peewees and Bantams were eager to get back into their element on the ice in Harbin. The chatter on the busses and in the hotels shifted from scorpions on a stick to X’s and O’s.
So when the team’s equipment was delayed in transit from Beijing to Harbin and the first practice and game were postponed a full day, the team successfully “went with it” and found another only-in-China experience. They just couldn’t "sticky rice” any more.
An impromptu trip to Harbin’s famous Tiger Park followed by a pizza lunch may not have completely made up for a lost day at the rink, but holding a four-day old tiger cub certainly helped.
Click The Image For A Full Gallery From The Tiger Zoo.
|Click here for the Jr. Islanders Great Wall of China photo gallery.|
One year and one day distinguished a pair of Long Island youth hockey teams on a trip around the world. The P.A.L. Junior Islander Bantams, born in 2001, arrived in Beijing 24 hours earlier than their 2002 Peewee counterparts. The senior group had already endured a 13.5 hour flight that arched over the North Pole and into a time zone where day is night and night is day. They’d reached their hotel beds by the time the younger sect was pulling out of the Nassau Coliseum parking lot towards JFK International Airport; it was 1 p.m. Saturday on Long Island, or 1 a.m. Sunday in China’s capital city.
As the airborne Peewees tired and sprawled across seats, guardians and each other, the Bantams arose to a foreign city that had been hidden by darkness and jet lag during the previous night’s transfer from Beijing airport to downtown’s Sun World Hotel. Sunday's tours through the Temple of Heaven, Capitol Museum and Olympic Center, paired with three authentic Chinese meals submerged the 13-year-old’s and their parents in China’s culture, where both groups were set to spend the next 12 days, first sightseeing and then playing in the 2014 International Youth Hockey Tournament.
Twelve teams from Russia, Qiqihar, Harbin, Beijing, and the United States will square off in China’s northern city of Harbin, where Islanders owner Charles Wang has helped fund ice rinks, youth hockey and educational programs since 2006 as part of his “Project Hope” initiative.
The dazed Peewees plodded into Sun World late Sunday night, but returned to the lobby just a few hours later, sacrificing sleep in favor of the trip’s most anticipated event. Monday morning the teams united for the first time on the eighth wonder of the world, the Great Wall of China.
Twenty-six players and 35 parents hiked China’s most iconic landmark, as a trip that Islanders Manager of Amateur Hockey Development Jocelyne Cummings began planning a mere six months earlier came to fruition.
“This last January during our International Lighthouse Tournament I was on the glass watching the championship game, when Garth gave me the signal,” Cummings said.
A subtle nod from Islanders General Manager Garth Snow invited Cummings to view the action from his post, alongside Islanders Owner Charles Wang. The trio were overseeing their sixth annual Lighthouse Tournament at Nassau Coliseum, featuring teams from as far as Finland, Sweden, China and Japan.
Cummings continued, “During meetings earlier in the day, Chinese dignitaries invited the Jr. Islanders to represent the United States at an international tournament in China, so they asked me how we could make it happen.”
The Islanders had previously sent coaches to Harbin and Qiqihar to run clinics and camps, but this would be the Jr. Islanders’ first venture overseas. Cummings worked with personnel from hockey offices in Harbin to put together a 12-day itinerary, including three days in Beijing and a six-day tournament in Harbin. She formed two teams from the Jr. Islanders player pool, staffed the trip with coaches and coworkers and placed the order for a thick stack of plane tickets.
“This is one of the most amazing experiences we can offer our Jr. Islanders,” Cummings said. “A lot of them already have international experience, since we take a team to the Quebec Peewee tournament every year, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip for both the kids and their parents.”
Adrenaline drove the Peewees up countless steps Monday as they raced towards a Chinese flag that marked the Great Wall’s highest accessible point. The Bantam’s posed for pictures, kicked around a hacky sack and demonstrated a newly acquired zeal for haggling on souvenirs, bottled water and anything else with a price tag. It was a skill they’d soon impart on the younger, more energetic team, along with a few Chinese words they’d picked up the previous day and tips on the top choices at the three daily family-style Chinese meals.
The groups shared one more day in Beijing on Tuesday, touring Tiananmen Square and the Summer Palace in a blistering heat that garnered even more anticipation for the following days practice in Harbin.
Now evenly acclimated to the food, culture and language, the two teams are primed to once again represent the New York Islanders in Harbin.
|Mark Streit of Switzerland at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games|
Niederreiter, 19, is expected to join the Swiss team on Monday, April 16, to skate in the final four exhibition games against Sweden and Canada. Streit, 34, is not expected to join the club until Tuesday, April 24, for the final two exhibition games before the tournament.
The 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship begins May 4, with the Swiss playing their first game on May 5 against Kazakhstan.
A new championship format is being introduced for 2012 that will see 16 teams split into two preliminary round groups, using the IIHF World Ranking for seeding. Preliminary rounds will be played in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden.
The Swiss begin the tournament in the Helsinki group, which also includes Belarus, Canada, Finland, France, Kazakhstan, Slovakia and the U.S.
The top four teams in each preliminary round group will advance to the quarterfinals. The semi finals and finals will both be played in Helsinki.
While Michael Grabner didn’t have the Calder Memorial Trophy in tow on his flight back to Long Island, he did have a lot of positives to take away from his time in Las Vegas.
“I was naturally a little disappointed that I didn’t win Rookie of the Year, but (Jeff) Skinner was definitely deserving of the award,” Grabner said after Wednesday night’s NHL Awards Show. “He had a great season and I’m still happy to have been a finalist.”
Grabner is becoming a regular at these sorts of events, having already met a lot of the NHL’s best at All-Star Weekend this year in Raleigh.
“It’s fun being around so many of the top players in the league,” Grabner said. “Hopefully I make it back again next year and maybe do a little better in the voting.”
The Gremlin’s marathon week continues on Friday night on Long Island, when he’ll join a number of his teammates at the Islanders Draft Party at Nassau Coliseum.
“This year’s draft should be exciting for us.” Grabner said. “We’ll get a really talented player where we’re picking. It’ll be good to see the crowd’s reaction when we add another young guy to our core.”
The pool party wrapped up around 1p.m. when the boys headed to their rooms to prepare for the show. All of the nominees gathered in the players’ lounge at 2 p.m. and slowly filed onto the red carpet. Grabs was one of the first players to take the long walk through the scorching heat. Doug began escorting his wife down the carpet shortly after Grabs was seated in the venue.
After winning the King Clancey Trophy, Doug was swooped upstairs to the media room, where he addressed journalists and posed for pictures. Upon his arrival, Doug was given a bag of goodies and a blackberry playbook, which needless to say thrilled his kids.
Doug’s entire family joined him in the media area after the awards show for a portrait with the trophy. The entire family took advantage of the behind-the-scenes experience, posing for pictures with other award winners like Niklas Lidstrom and Corey Perry.
After the show, the nominees all headed back to the pool for the official after party, where the Stanley Cup was on display, perched on a platform in the center of the pool.
Click here for a photo gallery from today.
Each arrived at JFK airport bright-and-early, Doug with his entire family, and Grabs accompanied by a buddy from home. The 5½ hour flight had the pair at the Palms Hotel right on time for their 2:45p.m. (local time) player meeting, followed by media availability at 3p.m. While Grabs new a few of his fellow nominees from the 2011 All-Star Game in Raleigh, he was practically the shy kid in the corner compared to Dougie, who seems to know every single person that he runs into.
Both players drew good crowds of national media during their 20-minute scrums, and while Doug’s official duties were done following his interviews, Grabner’s day was just beginning.
The Isles rookie-of-the-year candidate headed from the Palms to Caesar’s, where he was fitted for a new Awards-Show suit at John Varvados. He drove to and from the fitting with Vancouver forward Ryan Kessler, who shared a gripping first-hand account of his run to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Grabs finally finished his official duties, high atop the Palms Hotel, with a photo shoot for The Fourth Period. The Magazine was given special access to the top floor’s out-door area for some nice pictures of the Gremlin, with the Vegas skyline behind him
Now free until Wednesday’s Red Carpet ceremony, it’s time for the Isles crew to grab their first bite to eat since breakfast at JFK.
Click here for pictures from the day.