By John Grimaldi
The Half Hollow Hills junior varsity ice hockey team finished its regular season with a perfect 20-0 record.
The team capped off the impressive campaign with a four-game playoff sweep to win a Hills’ second Suffolk championship. The first title came back in 2013.
Head coach Glenn Smith said the team is made up of freshman, sophomores and juniors from multiple school districts. They played their games at The Rinx in Hauppauge.
Smith’s team dominated through much of the regular season, allowing just 20 goals while scoring 187 goals.
“We had great players this year,” Smith said. “We dug deep and won our games.”
Leading the dynamic offense was Austin Meyers, who scored over 50 goals throughout the course of the season to lead the league. He was also named MVP of the playoffs.
Smith added that, along with Meyers, lineman Thomas Howell, and defensemen Brendan Pomerantz and Zach Belous impressed this year.
They led the top-seeded Hills squad into the playoffs, where they defeated in the opening rounds eighth-seeded Sachem, 8-1; and fourth-seeded St. Anthony’s, 13-0.
In the best-of-three championship series against Smithtown, Hills faced a tough opponent. “Smithtown was a very, very good team,” Smith said. “If it wasn’t for us, they probably would have went undefeated.”
Hills defeated Smithtown 5-4 and 3-2 in the championship games.
The strong season followed years of hard work, Smith said.
“We had many years where we weren’t successful and we were the worst in league,” he said. “To be a part of this team and to have this record was a pleasure.”
While most of the athletes on this year’s junior varsity team are not eligible play at the varsity level next year, Smith said he’s confident the program will be able to field a varsity squad. In two years, when many of the members on this year’s junior varsity squad are eligible, he added, they will “have a great chance to compete.”