Phase one of East Meadow's playoff dream is now complete.
The East Meadow Jets topped the Mepham Pirates 6-1 Sunday in the opening round of the playoffs for the Islandwide Roller Hockey League.
"We played a strong team game," East Meadow Coach Joel Wax said. "We worked hard, and we were able to pull out the win."
The game started out as a defensive struggle, with neither team breaking through. Mepham's Billy Ruvolo and East Meadow's David Wax made several stellar saves to keep the game scoreless.
"David was great," the coach said. "He really did what he needed to do until we broke out."
East Meadow netted the first goal of the game when Nicholas Brengel knocked home a rebound that finally alluded Ruvolo. A short time later, James Jiritano sent a sensational pass to Jonathon Kaszuba in front, and he buried it to give the Jets a 2-0 lead at the half.
The second half belonged to Eric Hansen, the captain of the Jets, who had recently registered his 200th point as a member of the team.
A little more than two minutes in, Hansen ripped a wrist shot past the glove of Ruvolo to give the Jets some cushion. Just over three minutes later, Hansen buried a Brengel rebound to give the Jets a 4-0 lead, and they cruised from there.
Kaszuba added a goal of his own in the third to increase the lead to 5-0 before Mepham finally got on the board. Matthew Hackett blasted one past the seemingly unbeatable Wax to eliminate the possibility of a shutout, but Hansen's third goal of the game put the game on ice.
"We played a solid game," Hansen said. "When we have a full team out there, we can be dangerous."
Mepham continued to put on pressure, but Wax was up to the task, making 24 saves to earn the second star for the game, and Mepham Coach Mark Ferro was proud of his players' effort.
"They played well," Ferro said. "East Meadow is like a sister team to us. We wish them the best of luck."
Goal ScorersPeriod Team Player 1 East Meadow Nicholas Brengel 1
East MeadowJonathon Kaszuba 2 East Meadow Eric Hansen 2 East Meadow Eric Hansen 2 East Meadow Jonathon Kaszuba 2 Mepham Matthew Hackett 2 East Meadow Eric Hansen
East Meadow moves on to face Farmingdale on April 1 at 9 p.m. and the coach is confident in his team's chances.
"We need to play a team game just like today," Wax said. "We'll be right there."