A few years after making the difficult decision to not field a varsity hockey team, Oceanside’s rebuild reached the pinnacle with the JV program capturing the state and Nassau titles this March in undefeated fashion.
Sophomore Joe Derasmo scored in the opening period and freshman Michael Waltuch added an empty net goal late in the third to lead Oceanside to a 2-1 victory over Port Washington in the county championship game held March 27 at the Town of Oyster Bay rink. Junior goaltender James Palmeri made 32 saves and came within 30 seconds of posting a shutout.
“It’s very sweet,” head coach Bill Clark said. “It’s the cherry on top. To go from no wins and one tie last year to winning it all is a Cinderella story. It’s great to see all the hard work put in by the kids and coaching staff pay off.”
Oceanside captured the varsity county title in 2012 but numbers slowly declined, leading Clark and other decision makers to not compete at that level prior to last season. “We had a very young group and chose to do what was best for the organization as a whole,” he said. “We did it strictly with the kids’ best interests in mind. We took some lumps but it was the right way to go. We’ll be back as a varsity next season.”
Clark said the JV team’s confidence grew early with a taste of success, and by December he felt something special could be achieved come playoff time. The offense was bolstered by the additions of Waltuch, Anthony Cinetti and Steven Farsky — all ninth-graders — and the defense thrived with a rotation led by sophomore captain Justin Brooks and sophomore assistant captain Mason Peragine. Sophomore winger Anthony Piarulli also served as an assistant captain.
Other key contributors on the blueline included sophomores Sean Famularo, James Butler and Ian Schiavo. Famularo had a hat trick and Waltuch had four assists in the Sailors’ 6-1 semifinal win over Sewanhaka at Long Beach Arena on March 25. Peragine assisted on Derasmo’s goal in the county finals. Palmeri and sophomore Michael Carriere shared the workload between the pipes, said Clark, whose staff consists of Paul Rizzo, Mark Macioce, Ken Schure and Jon Rizzo.
Oceanside finished the season with a record of 17-0-1.