Written by Hal Bock Friday, 08 March 2013 00:00
When a fistful of seniors graduated last year, the hockey programs at East Williston and Jericho needed some help to continue playing. They found it in each other and the merged team won the Nassau County Championship with a perfect 18-0 season.
“They’re a great group of kids and they went on a great run,’’ coach Jon Turk said. “It’s been a dream season but you never want to say we’re satisfied until it’s over.’’
With the National Hockey League shut down by a lockout well into January, the spotlight shifted to whatever other hockey was available. “It was great for us,’’ Turk said, “Every one became interested in high school hockey. Most of the high school hockey on Long Island is club hockey. The league is not run by the schools but the schools are supportive of the program.’’
Turk pieced together a roster split almost evenly between the two school districts, East Williston-Jericho took the Oyster Bay Cup en route to its perfect season. Goalie Graham Turk, the coach’s son, and defensemen Andrew and Adam Fox as well as forwards Mathew Bernot, and Anthony Modica are the core of the team. “Those five powered us to the type of season we had,’’ Turk said. “The Fox brothers are two amazing offensive defensemen.’’
Putting this team together was no simple matter. With youngsters from two different programs, there were chemistry issues at the start. Bernot and Turk are Wheatley seniors, The Fox brothers and Modica came from Jericho. The team struggled for a while but the turning point came when East Williston-Jericho scored three goals in five minutes of the third period to wipe out a 4-2 deficit and defeat Bellmore-Merrick 5-4. In the single elimination playoff semifinals against the same squad from Bellmore-Merrick, East Williston-Jericho had an easier time, winning 5-0.
As the merged players got more comfortable together, East Williston-Jericho swept to the title in the Nassau County High School Hockey League’s Michelino Division and the county title. They know other teams are aware of their perfect season and will be gunning for them in the Jamestown tournament.
“This team is very competitive,’’ the coach said. “You just go up and play and we’ll see what happens.’’