KINGS PARK, N.Y.— An 0-2 start to the 2021-22 season didn’t seem to faze Kings Park/Commack in their quest to the playoffs. From that point on, the club won eight of their next nine and finished third place with a 14-4-2 regular season record. An emotional victory over rival Smithtown/Hauppauge in the quarterfinals gave them a semi-final matchup against St Anthony’s, a rematch after the two teams tied just one week earlier. The Knights squandered two separate one-goal leads in the contest and a last-minute stunner was the difference, eliminating them from postseason play. Kings Park/Commack would get another chance at the NYSAHA tournament to knock off St Anthony’s, but a second period barrage by the county champions was too much to come back from. Now, the Knights will look to make 2022-23 their season as plenty of members from last season’s group are back and motivated than ever.
While most will be back with a vengeance this season, there are a select few that played their last game with the club in 2021-22. Two key members of last season’s forward group that graduated include All-Star Brent Tinschert and Christopher Citera. Tinschert was one of three players to record multiple hat tricks for the Knights while also leading the club in assists (17) and shorthanded goals (2). Both Tinschert and Citera notched at least ten goals and 15 or more points during the season. Their remaining four graduates on offense are Eamon O’Melia, Trevor Cobelo, Sean Hanrahan, and Patrick Siegler.
This season’s Kings/Park Commack club is one of the few teams that are retaining most of their top-five leading scorers from last season. Some of those heavy hitters on offense that are returning include seniors Michael Brazill, William Prange, and Nicholas Berhalter. Prange and Berhalter were also All-Star’s last season while Brazill led the Knights in goals (27) and points (38). Another forward who averaged over a point per game in 2021-22 and returns this season is Peter Abazis. The senior was one of five different players last season to record more than ten assists and average over a point per game.
Additionally, Kings Park/Commack will also bring up more offensive reinforcements from their Junior Varsity club as Tyler Granelli, Jesse Lemza, Stefan Hludzinski, and Robert Malewski all get the call up to Varsity. Granelli was a driving force behind the JV Knights’ goal scoring last season, leading the club with 28 goals and 45 points. Right behind him in the point scoring race was Lemza and his team leading 22 assists with four coming on the power play. The two juniors were named All-Star’s last season.
One half of King Park/Commack’s defense will be an all senior group of Joseph Paratore, Jacob Quinn, and Jack Johnson. Paratore led the Knights defense in all three major scoring categories and was the only d-man to record a double-digit total in points (13). The other half of their defense makes the move up from JV Sean Richardson, Nicholas Sattler, and Ryan Furst.
A new face will enter the goaltending tandem for Kings Park/Commack this season as All-Star Brandon Futerman has graduated. It’ll be senior Conor McGrane who gets the nod up from JV after starting 13 games last season and winning eight of them. He’ll join fellow senior and newest member of the Freeport Arrows, Joseph O’Neill.
Two straight losses to begin a season isn’t something that any team wants to be faced with. However, Kings Park/Commack went down that road in 2021-22 and lost just two games in their remaining 18 regular season contests. The Knights were one win away from reaching the finals on two separate occasions last season, but were stopped both times by St Anthony’s. One thing that those two clubs in particular have in common is that most of their top point scorers are coming back for at least one more season. A total of 14 seniors for Kings Park/Commack will embark on their last dance in 2022-23 with hopes of taking over the Varsity division crown.