Baymen Sweep Rockville Centre for County Title


Kieran Baisley, Sports Editor

The Underdawgs are back on top in Wantagh. Wantagh/Seaford’s ice hockey club, the Baymen, won the county title after defeating Rockville Centre in 2-game sweep in the final of the Mastroianni Division. Throughout the playoffs, No. 3-seeded Wantagh battled back from deficits. The Warriors came back from three goals to beat Locust Valley/North Shore 7-6, from two goals to beat Plainview 6-3, and two goals to stun Locust Valley 4-3 in 2OT in the county semifinals.

In the final, the first game was a 6-3 win including big 1st period goals by Chris Basile, Kieran Baisley, and Mike “The Man” Linekin. The second game was never close as Wantagh cleanly won 7-2 enroute to capture the championship.

Baisley led scoring in the 2 games with 5 goals. Ryan Phieffer, Sean Nertney, and Pat Sanpietro all added 2 goals each.

The Wantagh/Seaford Circus has fueled this success as the wild fans have gotten into the heads of not only opposing skaters but even goalies, too. Although the members of the circus were kicked out of the rink in game 2 for going too far with their cheers, they fueled the Baymen’s fire and eventually were allowed back in to watch the end of the game. The ice hockey team is a club that receives no funding from the school. Composed of Wantagh and Seaford players, as well as players drafted from other high schools, the Baymen usually have games and practices every week at the Newbridge Arena in Bellmore.

The players look up to the coaches. Coaches Andrew Friedman, Mark Abramson, and 2017 Wantagh grad Anthony Ferrugio prepared the boys mentally. Friedman is an ex-Bayman.

The last time the Baymen won a county title was 11 years ago on a team led by Wantagh’s Jason Aro and Ed Wedel. Coach Friedman played on that championship team.

This group is led by Wantagh seniors Matt Scherer, Linekin, and Baisley. Wantagh junior John Coltellino was in the top 10 in Nassau scoring. Wantagh sophomore Johnny “Hockey” King danced his way around defenders, a big step up from last year. John Barrett, a 10th grader from Seaford, has been great on the blue line this year.

Other seniors include Ryan Phieffer, Stephen Conklin, and Joe Lomuscio of Seaford. Wantagh didn’t have enough players in the beginning of the year, so they were fortunate to draft 3 outstanding seniors from Valley Stream – Sean Nertney, Nicholas Casalo, and Chris Basile. Sanpietro, a junior from Wantagh who goes to Chaminade, has fit in perfectly on the 2nd line with Baisley and King, who have clicked in the last 6 games.

The 1st line of Coltellino, Phieffer, and Lomuscio/Nertney has been terrific down the stretch, and the 3rd line of Linekin, Nertney, Nick Esposito/Matt Zanelotti has been absolutely gooning it up. Linekin is the man of the circus, who brings ferocious intensity with his line.

In net, James Ciampi went 5-0 in his last 5 games posting a goals against average of 3.00 versus the top three teams in the conference (Manhasset #1 seed, LVNS #2 seed twice, Rockville Centre #4 twice). Ciampi, a junior at East Meadow, has played nothing short of phenomenal since coming back from a broken collarbone in December.

Wantagh continued this amazing stretch at states March 2-4 in Jamestown, in Western New York.