The Port Washington/Manhasset/Herricks Middle School ice hockey team wins the championships (Photo from Kam Chang)

The Vikings Hockey Team Wins The Middle School Championship

The Port Washington/Manhasset/Herricks Vikings won the NYIHSHL Middle School Championship on March 26, 2024. They beat the Massapequa Chiefs 7-1 in dominant fashion. The Vikings went 15-2-1 in their first-ever season together.

“We were just on fire and everything was working and I guess that’s what you want for a championship game. It’s not really me, it’s the kids, I’m just there putting them out there, it’s the kids working their butts off, not me,” said Head Coach Scott Zubrow.

In the championship game Leon Pivovarov scored four times adding to his impressive postseason scoring run. He finished with 13 goals through 3 playoff games.

“Leon Pivovarov was a driving force on offense, his house league teammate, Christos Loucas and him knew where each other were going to be at all times,” said Zubrow. “They knew how to get open and pass to kids who would get open, they started off the offense and helped get the rest of the team involved in offense.”

Zubrow also gave credit to Matthew Radoslovich and Jayden Chan who helped make everyone better on offense and his son, Jacob Zubrow brought experience to the defense helping to solidify the back end of the team. The defense and goal-tending was a huge emphasis for the team. The Vikings had three good goalkeepers and made sure to dress each one ten times in order to have them eligible for the playoffs. Declan Hayes, Max Lieberman, and Charlotte Parker all held it down in net this season.

“We had really good goal-tending. Most teams can’t even find one goalie, we had three,” said Zubrow. “Having three good goalies available at all times puts us two levels above a lot of the other teams. A huge part of why we won is part of our goal-tending.”

The Port Washington/Manhasset/Herricks Vikings ready to play in the championships

The Vikings started the season off 1-1-1 before ripping off multiple streaks including ending the regular season on a 10-game win streak. They had an 87-goal differential in the regular season and an 11-goal differential in the playoffs.

“I made some mistakes in the beginning, as a coach and I learned from my mistakes. I revamped the way I would put the lines together and have the kids out on the ice,” said Zubrow.

Despite having a very impressive season, the Vikings finished in second place behind the Long Beach middle school team. Long Beach had a 16-1-1 record and beat Port Washington as well as tying with them early in the season. The two teams met in the semifinals game where the Vikings overcame the top team winning 8-6. Port Washington went down 3-1 after the first but tied it up 4-4 in the second period. Pivovarov scored three of his eight goals in the third period to lift the Vikings to the championship game.

“I told everyone after the first period to take their breath, play your game, just a couple of mistakes if we clean them up we can get it going,” said Zubrow. “From the second period we really started pushing and putting pressure on them, and that’s what really changed the tide of the game. We wore them down, started skating faster than they were, we became more aggressive than they were, and a lot of times in hockey that’s what can really change the game.”

Going into the title game, the Vikings felt that they’d beaten the best team in the league and they felt unstoppable. They built confidence through each playoff game to the point where everyone was relaxed and cool heading into the championship game. The result proved that point.

“Even going up five minutes before getting on the ice, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with the team. You’re out there, you really want to win the championship,” said Zubrow. “I said, right now, the way that we are playing, I don’t think there is anyone that can beat us.”

Next season, coach Zubrow will return as the team moves up. Zubrow is hoping all the kids who can play JV will return because of the experience they had winning a championship together. The Vikings will be playing kids who are 14 years old who have been checking for a year now so it’ll be a tough transition but Zubrow and his team are looking forward to it.

The team celebrating their win (Photos from the Port Washington/Manhasset/Herricks Vikings)

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