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The NYIHSHL Quarterfinals Preview



The first-ever NYIHSHL Play-In-Round has come and gone, but it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Marines, Chiefs and Spartans all won on Sunday Night to punch their ticket to the 2023-2024 postseason as well as secure their spot in Varsity Conference I for the 2024-2025 season. 

Following a five point performance I  the Long Beach Marines 6-1 victory over the RVC ER Hewlett Cyclones, Richie Behr Jr was quick to point out the fact I had picked the Cyclones to win in the play-in-round. Behr Jr told LISN after the game that he didn’t see the article until after the game, but not before saying “It’s fine, try not to make that mistake again.” Point taken. 

With last week’s lackluster picks in mind I enlisted the aid of LISN PXP Announcer, Ian Behnke, for this one. Here are our picks for Tuesday and Wednesday’s Quarterfinal matchups.

Game One 

The 8th Seed Roslyn/ E. Williston/ Carle Place Spartans V The 1st Seed Bethpage Eagles on Tuesday, February 6th at 6:45 PM

Our Picks

My Pick: Bethpage Eagles 

Jordan Sirota and Justin Fox led the Spartans to victory against the Garden City Wings, but don’t expect an encore against a Bethpage Eagles squad that won 8-1 without the best player in the league, Marko Lisica, in the lineup.

Ian Behnke: Bethpage 

The Eagles swept the season series with the Spartans, outscoring them 20-2. Roslyn will be riding high after their win in the play-in against Garden City, but it’ll be tough to outduel Marko Lisica and this Bethpage squad.

Game Two 

The 7th Seed Massapequa Chiefs V The 2nd Seed Bellmore-Merrick Bulldogs on Tuesday February 6th at 8:15 PM. 

My Pick: After being outscored by a combined 11-4 in three consecutive contests to start the season, the Bulldogs finished the season with the best goal differential in all of Conference I. Consistency has been the name of the game for the Bellmore-Merrick since the Bulldogs went on a ten game heater. In their final meeting against Massapequa, Bellmore-Merrick jumped out a 5-1 lead before the Chiefs scored four of the last six goals in an eventual 7-5 win for the Bulldogs. Bottom line is that you can expect this game to be close, but it’s more likely than not that the Bulldogs come away with the dub. 

Ian Behnke: The Bulldogs are playing some of their best hockey at the right time. Coming into the postseason, they’ve won 12 of their last 13. That includes an OT win over Bethpage to end the regular season and a pair of victories over Massapequa. No doubt, the Chiefs were impressive in their double overtime win over Manhasset / Great Neck, but they’ll really need to be on their game to pull the upset.

Game Three 

The 6th Seed Long Beach Marines V The 3rd Seed Half Hollow Hills Hornets on Wednesday February 7th at 6:15 PM

My Pick: Half Hollow Hills Hornets 

If this game was being played in Long Beach then my pick would have been different, but since it’s being played in Bethpage this one could really go either way. Since Ian picked the Marines, I figured I’d bet against Richie Behr Jr since my gut is telling me not to bet against Luke Guttman. Pun intended. 

Guttman made 42 saves on senior night before stealing a win against the Syosset Braves to close out the season. The Marines may have emerged with a point in a draw against a Hornets team on home ice for Senior Night, but it’s important to remember Long Beach needed that win to evade the play-in round. They didn’t get that win because of Guttman. That being said if the Marines do pull off a win they will be my pick in a semifinal game that will be played in Long Beach.

Benhke’s Pick: Long Beach Marines

It hasn’t been an ideal season for the Marines. After a strong win over Bellmore-Merrick on Opening Night, they struggled to stay consistent throughout the campaign. However, they almost always hung tight in their losses, with all but a pair of losses being decided by two goals or fewer. The two battles between the Marines and Hornets have been razor thin, both going into overtime. The first matchup saw the Marines battled back from a three-goal deficit, but could not cap it off with a win. The second ended in a 3-3 deadlock. A raucous atmosphere, a full bench, and momentum from a big win over RVC on Sunday will put Long Beach over the top.

Game Four 

The 5th Seed VSSL Storm V The Syosset Braves on Wednesday February 7th at 8:00 PM

My Pick: VSSL Storm

The Syosset Braves haven’t looked the same since their 5-4 loss to the Massapequa Chiefs that ended with multiple key pieces being suspended for a significant amount of games. Maybe this blows up in my face, but I love an underdog and my gut is telling me that it’s more likely than not that this one goes down to the wire.

Benhke’s Pick: Syosset Braves 

A tough schedule down the stretch of the regular season did not do any favors for the Braves, as they finished in the #5 spot. Wire-to-wire battles seemed to wear them down, but those kind of games also prepare you for the postseason. One of their most definitive victories was a 9-1 showing over Valley Stream back in December. While the Storm took a close 6-4 win later in the month, the Braves still have the firepower to jump ahead in a pivotal game. Look for Roman Arroyo and Jack Bahrenburg to lead Syosset to the semis. 

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