The Middle Village Players Roller Hockey League finished the year with a captivating set of championship games and declared its first-ever league champion on Sunday, Nov. 19.
After a series of back-and-forth goals from both teams, the High Flyers soared to a 7-4 victory over the Hawks to clinch the history-making win and the championship cup.
Both teams battled for supremacy with scores in the first few minutes of their game, but the High Flyers ultimately showed their dominance on the rink.
Alex (No. 22) Anthony (No. 20) and Benjamin (No. 15) created a strong offensive front to lead the High Flyers.
Adding to the High Flyers’ championship efforts, Nazariy (No. 27) was awarded MVP for the season.
Michael Concepcion and Glen Santos, the coaches for the High Flyers, said sharing words of motivation with the team helped them power through this game, and planning gave them the winning advantage.
“We were on the phone with each other yesterday just talking about what the defensive plays we can use, what offensive strategies we can use and just how we can get around,” Concepcion said.
Santos also praised the team for their work so far, hinting at more needed to be done next year to defend the title.
“From day one, we were just teaching them the game. Huge difference from day one to now,” said Santos. “All we told them was, ‘just play. We’re gonna guide you to what you got to do. You listen to us, you’re gonna win a championship,’ and we kept that promise.”
The Hawks did show some grit and with some goals from Jake (No. 11) and Logan (No. 4), but the team couldn’t overcome its deficit.
Hawks Coach Billy Browne said he’s looking forward to the team’s rematch next year and plans to have the team focus on situational hockey drills and learning more plays.
“They had a great season and I’m proud of them. We’re just gonna bounce back next year,” said Browne. “ We know what the feeling is now to lose, so we’re gonna build on that and work on our game and get better for next year.”
The 3rd place match saw the Bears battle the Jets in an intense showdown. The Jets took home the win, 4-2, thanks to an impressive showing by Paulie (No. 27), who earned the total number of points for the team.
A valiant effort from the Bears led to Ruairi (No. 10) scoring their second goal.
Regardless of the scores, the teams shook hands and the end of the season for the Middle Village Players Roller Hockey League came to a close.
In nearly half a year of preparing, training, and gathering all of the players necessary to bring hockey back to the James Bohan Hockey Rink, located at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village, Paul (Pogo) Pogozelski achieved what he set out to from day one.
For the man who seems to never run out of things to say, when asked to reflect on his time as the league’s President so far and what he’s accomplished, he simply said, “It’s a beautiful thing.”
Coach Pogo gave a special shoutout to Giedre Pogozelski, who was instrumental in everything from setting up games, coordinating with parents, tending to injured kids and cleaning the referee jerseys.
Thanks were also shared with Lauren Rottenberg for singing the national anthem for the game, as well as the first league’s founder Eileen Moloney, coaches, parents, players and sponsors of the league who made it possible for roller hockey to return to Middle Village.
Spring 2024 registration is now open on mvproller.com. Parents interested in enrolling their children are encouraged to apply.
Full scores and standings can be found at mvproller.com/stats.
Additional information was provided by Pogozelski.