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Anthony Pepe Leads EI To State Title 

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It’s never easy to say goodbye, so don’t make this any harder than it has to be. The East Islip Chiefs are your 2023-2024 NYSAHA state champions, Anthony Pepe’s hat-trick made sure of that. Just like in the SCHSHL Finals, we here at LISN took the liberty of naming our own State t MVP. Ultimately we elected to name Anthony Pepe. The Division I champion St. Anthony’s Friars, who lost to the eventual champions in the Semifinals, will join the East Islip Chiefs at Nationals. This is the end of the road for all of us at LISN, and we wish them the best moving forward. 

The National Tournament divides teams up into two divisions. The Mixed Division is made up of teams that draw from multiple school districts. The East Islip Chiefs will represent the SCHSHL in the Mixed Division because of the fact that Islip Terrace is a part of the EI Hockey Family. The Pure Division is made up of programs that are made up of players from one district. The St. Anthony’s Friars will represent the SCHSHL in the Pure Division as they draw upon players from just one district.

 We would be remiss if we did not congratulate the Kings Park Commack Knights and St. Anthony’s Friars of the SCHSHL for making it this far. The HVHSIHA’s Arlington Admirals as well as the hometown Saugerties Mustangs impressed in the state finals. The same can be said for the BCHSHA’s Chenango Forks Blue Devils and Elmira Hockey Club. Whether or not we see these teams next time around, and my gut says that we will see some familiar faces next season, expect them to be ready to settle the score. Now let’s turn our attention back to Sunday’s championship game. 

Anthony Pepe scored the two shorthanded goals including the game winner en route to completing the hat-trick in a four point performance as the East Islip Chiefs secured a 5-2 victory over the Smithtown Hauppauge Bulls. Brody Dickson made 30 saves on 32 shots in net for the Chiefs. Thomas Ivers opened the scoring and added two assists for the Chiefs. Ivers led all skaters in Saugerties with 15 assists and 16 points. Ryan Anatra, who scored a tournament leading 8 goals, tallied two assists in the Chiefs win. Bryan Slattery scored an empty net goal for the Chiefs to seal the deal.

Patrick Ryan made 25 stops on 29 shots for the Bulls in the state finals. Victor D’Errico scored a power play goal and added another at even strength in the Bulls loss. 

The East Islip Chiefs fired off the first ten shots of the game, but the Smithtown Hauppauge Bulls escaped the 1st period tied thanks to the heroics of Patrick Ryan

Thomas Ivers opened the scoring with 3:35 left in the 2nd period to put the Chiefs up 1-0. Ryan Anatra fired a pass to the slot for a one-time clapper by Ivers that beat the netminder low blocker. Anthony Pepe potted a shorthanded goal to extend the lead to 2-0 with 33 seconds left in the second stanza. Thomas Ivers came in on a partial breakaway, spun away from pressure to avoid being caught from behind, and found Pepe for a quick shot that beat Ryan glove side. 

Victor D’Errico nearly made it a one goal game in the 3rd period, but Brody Dickson managed to get a quick cover as the officials blew their whistle before the Bulls forward jabbed it home. Anthony Pepe scored a shorthanded goal with 8:22 remaining in the 3rd period. Thomas Ivers came up ice 1 on 2, spun away from pressure and found Pepe in the slot for a shot that was denied by Ryan. Ivers recovered the loose change and found Pepe on the back door for a quick shot that beat the Bulls netminder as he slid left-to-right. Just 21 seconds later, Victor D’Errico put the Bulls on the board. D’Errico redirected a shot from the point by C.J. Guglielmo past Dickson. Lightning struck twice for the Bulls as Victor D’Errico scored with 4:59 left in the third frame to make it a 3-2 game. Bobby Trites carried it in 3 on 2 before making a pass to the slot for D’Errico, who went backhand-forehand to beat Dickson glove side. Smithtown Hauppauge called timeout with under four minutes remaining, but East Islip’s Ryan Anatra forced Patrick Ryan to make a big save coming out of the timeout. The Bulls tried to answer back on the other end, but it was Anthony Pepe who completed the hat-trick to put the Chiefs up 4-2 with 3:01 remaining in the 3rd period. Brody Dickson made an excellent poke check that led to Ryan Anatra collecting the puck and heading up ice on a 2 on 1. Pepe turned on the jets, received a pass in the slot, and beat Ryan glove side off a beautiful feed from Anatra. Bryan Slattery scored an empty net goal on a long shot from beneath the hash marks in his own zone with :31 seconds left in regulation to seal the deal for the Chiefs. 

Scoring Summary

Goal Scorer (Team)AssistPeriodTimeGoal Type
Thomas Ivers (East Islip)Ryan Anatra, Anthony Pepe2nd03:35
Anthony Pepe (East Islip)Thomas Ivers2nd00:33SH
Anthony Pepe (East Islip)Thomas Ivers3rd08:22GWG, SH
Victor Derrico (Smithtown Hauppauge)Bobby Trites, Christopher Guglielmo3rd08:01PP
Victor Derrico (Smithtown Hauppauge)Robert Trites3rd04:59
Anthony Pepe (East Islip)Ryan Anatra, Brody Dickson3rd03:01
Bryan Slattery (East Islip)Unassisted3rd00:31EN

Three Stars of the Game

StarPlayer (Team)Stat LinePerformance Summary
1stAnthony Pepe (East Islip)Hat-Trick, 2 Shorthanded Goals, Shorthanded Game Winner, 1 AssistAnthony Pepe will be remembered as the kid who led EI to a state title. Pepe scrapped all season long and it paid off in a big way this weekend. The EI forward scored two shorthanded goals including the game winner en route to the hat-trick and added an assist for good measure.
2ndThomas Ivers (East Islip)1 Goal, 2 AssistsRoll, Roll TI. Thomas Ivers opened the scoring on a shot from the slot before tallying two beautiful assists to set up both of Anthony Pepe’s shorthanded goal.
3rdBrody Dickson (East Islip)30 Saves, Win, 2GA, 1 AssistBig Game Brody, the Stone Wall of Saugerties, the EI netminder earned himself a couple of nicknames at the NYSAHA tournament. Dickson made 30 stops and added an assist after making 33 stops in a semifinals matchup that ended just four hours prior.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations to the members of East Islip’s NYSAHA Championship squad led by Captains Ryan Anatra and Thomas Ivers as well as Assistant Captains Anthony Pepe and Bryan Slattery. They led this Senior heavy squad comprised of Brody Dickson, Liam Godbout, Luke LaFata, L.J. Lena, Anthony Marrazzito, Jack McGarry, Corey McGovern and Luke Walther. Junior Alex Carino will return alongside Sophomore’s Jack Dolson, Kieran Freelin, Evan LaFata and Chris Lawlor to defend EI’s state title in 2024-2025. Congratulations to Head Coach Chris Reinheart as well as Assistant Coaches Danny Barbarito and Vinny Russo. It has been an absolute pleasure covering this team and conversing with this coaching staff as well as the entire EI Hockey family all season long. We wish them the best of luck at Nationals. Roll, Roll, EI.

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