In the first HS hockey game at the UBS Arena, Don Bosco wins in spectacular fashion
ELMONT, NY — Matt Imbriano won the game, got redemption and maybe even a job.
Call it the UBS hat trick.
Don Bosco’s senior frontline center Imbriano scored on a breakaway with 18 seconds left to lead the Ironmen to a 2-1 win over Portledge School on Tuesday afternoon at UBS Arena, home of the Islanders from New York. (Watch the winning goal in the video at the top of this page.)
It was billed as the first high school ice hockey game at the gleaming new luxury hockey palace next to Belmont Park.
Check out the photo gallery, then keep reading.
Since Don Bosco’s coach, Greg Toskos, is a UBS executive, he struggled to give the Ironmen a chance to play. After the game, I asked if Imbriano’s goal meant he qualified for a summer internship with the company.
Toskos laughed, but Imbriano seemed enthusiastic about the idea.
“Who wouldn’t want that?” he said.
UBS Arena may have been the real star on Tuesday. The building has a vintage New York feel, the seats are wide and comfortable, and the ice was shining.
It was telling that when the referees took to the ice just before the start of the game, one of them gave a shout of joy.
The Ironmen have now played at Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, West Point and UBS. They also played several times at the Prudential Center, home of the New Jersey Devils.
“It’s 10 times better than that,” Imbriano said, but he could be biased after scoring the game-winner. “Everything about it is brand new and top of the line. It’s great to be here. »
The Ironmen used the visitors’ locker room, which was enormous. The game notes for the Islanders’ last home game against the Seattle Kraken were on the table. The Islanders will not play at home again until February 17.
Toskos showed off the dressing room and his own massive coaching office which he was able to use.
It was more than just a game on Tuesday. The Islanders and UBS have partnered with the 43 OAK Foundation to organize a clinic after Don Bosco’s victory for aspiring hockey players who cannot afford to travel. Many of these players were in the stands to watch the game.
The contest was crisp and clean with no penalties. Portledge captain Odin Ford delivered a crushing blow on the first team of the game but missed most of the game through injury.
The Ironmen took a 1-0 lead seven minutes later on a messy play past Portledge keeper Jake Anderson, with Nick Milmone pressing one past the stack in front.
The Panthers responded with a nifty two-on-one just before the end of the first period.
In the second half, Don Bosco peppered Anderson with several shots, but he was outstanding. Don Bosco outshot the Panthers, 43-25.
The third period was a back and forth, Don Bosco goalkeeper Ethan Marich made three brilliant saves in the streak. Portledge won a faceoff in the Don Bosco zone with about 30 seconds left.
Then boom, Imbriano won a face-off, pushed it past himself, then took a step as Portledge defenders mistakenly pulled wide. He just whipped it through Anderson’s short side for the game winner.
“When I got the face-off I looked up and saw their defenders scatter and thought if there was a chance to do it now was the time,” Imbriano said.
Toskso recalled how Imbriano missed several chances during the Ironmen’s draw against Bergen Catholic last week.
“I told him I would continue to take you on breakaways any day of the week,” Toskos said. “I know it bothered him. It would bother all scorers. It was a great way to catch up. »
The Ironmen (16-5-1) are now gearing up for the playoffs. The Gordon Cup tournament begins on Friday. Don Bosco is the defending champion and the No. 3 seed, behind Delbarton and Christian Brothers Academy. The Gordon Cup is usually just a dress rehearsal for the non-public state tournament.
“I told the guys to start preparing for the playoffs,” Toskos said. “It was a game where we had to come in strong to prepare and we did that. They came in and were ready to go.
Darren Cooper is an avid high school fishing sports columnist for NorthJersey.com. For full access to live scores, breaking news and analysis from our Varsity Aces team, subscribe today. To get the latest news straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter and download our app.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Don Bosco NJ Hockey Wins Spectacular First HS Game at UBS Arena