Never before in Great Neck Bruins history has any team in the organization won a state championship. On Sunday evening, March 16 that all changed. The 2007-2008 Great Neck Bruins Midget Minor (16U) team defeated the Westchester Mariners 6-3 to capture the organization's first state title in Alexandria Bay, NY.
Only eight Tier III Midget teams from all across New York made it to the state championship tournament. The tournament kicked off on Friday, March 14, for the Bruins by defeating the Niagara Coyotes 2-1 for an all important first win. As a result of this victory, the Bruin's entered their first game on Saturday needing a win to secure a berth in the semi-finals. The Bruins responded strong by wiping out Louisville 5-0.
With semi-final berths clinched for both teams, the Bruins and Westchester Mariners played for seeding. The Mariners captured the number one seed by beating the Bruins 5-2. That would set up a semi-final match up for the Bruins against the hosts of the tournament, the Alexandria Bay River Rats on Sunday.
Sunday began poorly for the Bruins as they fell behind 3-1 after two periods. The lone Bruin goal came off the stick of Daniel Donahue. The third period would provide a different story. The Bruins showed their resilience getting two more goals from Donahue, tying the game and completing the hat trick. With six minutes left in the third, John Defeo would net the eventual game winner sending the Bruins roaring into the championship game. In the second semi-final game, the Westchester Mariners defeated the Bear Mountain Bears 2-0 to set up a re-match against the Bruins for the title.
In three previous meetings with the Mariners, the Bruins were 0-2-1 making it seem as if the Mariners had the title wrapped up. The Bruins had other plans this Sunday night. The Bruins carried momentum over from their semi-final win and jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the second period with goals from Donahue, John Dellatto, and Napolean Georgatos. The Mariners scratched back with two goals but, Donahue scored two more goals before the period's end, putting the Bruin's up 5-2 and completing his second hat trick of the day. The third period saw more of the same dominance from the Bruins as John Defeo added a goal to his three assists, on a beautiful pass from Keith Calix to give the Bruins an insurmountable 6-2 lead. The Mariners would score one more before the game was done but ultimately Jordan Gluck's 37 saves and the shut down defense of Noah Todaro, Jeff Dolan, and Freddy Cicchetti would carry the Bruins to their first ever New York State Tier III Championship.
Coaches Jim Traynor and Ray Deenihan gave credit to all the players for making history for the Great Neck Bruins Hockey organization.
Great Neck Bruins 16U Roster: AJ Adipietro, Keith Calix, Freddy Cicchetti, John Dellatto, John Defeo, JP Dimarco, Jeff Dolan, Daniel Donohue, Peter Doscas, Napoleon Georgatos, Jordan Gluck, Beau Lardner,
Steven Mc Grory, Tyler Morrone, Sara Ribarich, Vinny Ruggiero, and Noah Todaro.