Last week, for the first time since the end of last season in April, there was a clean sheet of ice awaiting the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Most of the players that played on the ice last week won’t play for the Islanders this season, but they still put on a show for the thousands of Islanders fans that came out to see their future at the Blue and White Scrimmage on a warm night in July.
Recent first round draft pick Joshua Ho-Sang was the crowd favorite. He scored a goal, added two assists, and had the crowd chanting his name by the end of the night. His first impression with the Islanders was a good one. “It may be my last opportunity to score in this building,” he said of the Coliseum.
The game itself was a defensive battle, but the blue team was able to beat their counterparts in the white jerseys 7-3 after the game and skills competition was finished. For some players, the chance to put on an NHL jersey is one they likely won’t experience again in the near future. For others, this was the beginning of a long road toward a coveted NHL roster spot.
One player who is expected to contend for an NHL roster spot in the fall is 2012 first round draft pick Griffin Reinhart. “I wasn’t looking to come in here and try to make the team,” he said. “I think it jump starts my summer and gets me going.”
On defense, Reinhart was paired with Ryan Pulock, the Islanders 2013 first round draft pick. “It was great, every time you can play in front of the hometown crowd it’s a great experience,” Pulock said.
Long Island natives John Schaivo and Tommasco Bucci were each able to light the lamp at their home arena for the blue team before Ho-Sang scored his goal on a breakaway from center ice. Ho-Sang’s goal gave the blue team a 4-1 advantage and led to a 5-2 victory for the blue team during the scrimmage.
After the scrimmage, the blue team won both a shootout competition and hardest shot competition. Reinhart and Pulock each registered shots at 89 miles per hour, hardest on the night. The final competition of the night was a team breakaway challenge, with everyone on both teams trying to score. The white team won that competition, to close out the game and send the fans home happy. The Islanders begin their full training camp in September.