By Kerry Gwydir
(October 1) More than 14,000 enthusiastic school children had packed
Nassau Coliseum for the Islanders' second-annual "Cool School Game"
vs. the New Jersey Devils. Adrian Aucoin had a pair of goals and an
assist while G Rick DiPietro was super in stopping 39 shots for the
D Ray Schultz, paired with Radek Martinek, recorded the first heavy
hit of the morning when he caught the Devils' Scott Gomez with his
head down at center ice. Soon after that, the Islanders went on the
Oleg Kvasha had the first quality scoring chance of the game on the
second shift of the period. Kvasha managed to beat NJ's Brian
Rafalski down the left wing and had a clear path to the net. Devils'
goaltender Martin Brodeur came out on top of his crease and made a
pad stop on the Islander's shot.
At the 2:46 mark of the first, RW Eric Godard put his knuckles to the
test as he and New Jersey's Turner Stevenson duked it out. Stevenson
landed several early rights with Godard countering with his left. The
Islander rookie unloaded a heavy right late that staggered the
Devils' right wing with Godard then scoring the takedown.
The Islanders went on the powerplay at the 6:26 mark when NJ's Andrei
Zyuzin was tagged for hooking LW Claude Lapointe. That was negated
when C Dave Scatchard was called for interference.
As the teams played 4-on-4 hockey, NJ's Brian Gionta had a glorious
scoring chance as he was set up alone on the doorstep by LW Jeff
Friesen. With DiPietro sprawling to take up the bottom part of the
net, Gionta shot the puck wide of the net.
DiPietro then came up with his finest save of the game at that point
inside the 11-minute mark when he faced a 2-on-1 with Sergei Brylin
and Steve Guolla charging into the Islanders' zone. Brylin floated a
saucer pass across the slot that Guolla re-directed on net. DiPietro
dove across the goal crease and gobbled the shot up with his catch
A big hit by Mark Parrish on Patrik Elias led to the first goal of
the game with 7:38 left in the period. Aucoin's floater from the blue
line somehow found its way between Brodeur's pads and into the net.
Shawn Bates' drop pass at the NJ blueline garnered the forward the
lone assist on the play.
The Devils put together a spirited shift of their own soon after as
their checking line consisting of Christian Berlund-Mike Danton-
Stevenson had the Islanders pinned in their own end for over a
minute. Berglund nearly stuffed one on a wrap-around try, but a
pokecheck by DiPietro and backchecking by Jason Blake thwarted the
LW Brad Isbister, who landed several big hits in the period, was sent
to the sin bin with 3:36 left in the first. The march continued when
RW Arron Asham was called for cross-checking, putting the Devils on a
5-on-3 for 1:10.
As is so often the case, the goaltender can be the best penalty
killer and DiPietro was just that in stopping all six shots during
the 5-on-3. DiPietro made two huge stops on the doorstep on Elias,
who had all day to pepper the net. The Islander goaltender also
robbed Oleg Tverdovsky's slapper from the point as two Devils were
situated in front and the Islanders scrambling. NJ wound up
outshooting the Islanders, 16-7, in the first.
C Jason Wiemer got the gate at the 2:54 mark of the middle stanza,
putting the Devils back on the powerplay. Inside the five-minute
mark, the Islanders failed to clear the zone and it cost them. Jamie
Langenbrunner drilled a shot from inside the left faceoff dot that
hit DiPietro in the mask and found its way behind him. Elias was left
unchecked in the slot to wheel and deal following Scott Stevens'
block of a clearing attempt.
The penalties for the Islanders continued to pile up, and Wiemer was
again sent off. This time, it was for goaltender interference. That
ended when the Devils' Gionta barreled into DiPietro, resulting in a
goaltender's interference penalty. 31 seconds after that, Isbister
was penalized in the offensive zone for interference.
DiPietro continued to have a strong performance in the second period.
The Devils, known for their trapping style over the years,
aggressively crashed the Islanders net on a regular basis throughout
the contest. It forced DiPietro to be very agile in his crease as the
Devils' defensemen continued to tee up shots from their points. One
save in particular came with eight minutes left in the second when
DiPietro snatched another Tverdovsky blast that appeared destined for
the back of the net.
The Devils' crease-crashing led to a 5-on-5 punch-up with 7:39 left
in the period. After DiPietro was run over again, the Islanders came
to their goalie's aid. First, Claude Lapointe mixed it up with NJ's
Mike Danton, who was getting the initial goalie interference penalty.
Then Godard-Stevenson II took place.
Godard once again landed heavy shots with both hands and again
floored the Devil to the ice. As that was going on, Schultz and
Brylin exchanged pleasantries inside the Islanders' zone. Godard
ended up getting a game misconduct at the end of things as the
Islanders ended up on the short-end of the calls. But just seconds
later, NJ's Joe Nieuwendyk negated the powerplay as he was sent off.
With 6:49 left in the period, Aucoin was in the middle of things
again as he helped put together the Islanders' second goal of the
game. With Corey Schwab fresh from replacing Brodeur, Aucoin led a
charge into the Devils' zone. He wheeled the puck down low to Bates,
who quickly fed the breaking Yashin. The Islander sniper then slammed
a shot over Schwab's shoulder. Less than a minute later, it became a
Brad Isbister scored his third goal in as many preseason games. A key
play by Martinek to pinch at the right point forced a turnover off
the stick of Jeff Friesen. It allowed Isbister to wheel down the slot
and fire a shot past Schwab.
With the Devils back on the powerplay late in the period and Jason
Blake in the box, Langenbrunner notched his second of the game with
18 ticks left. Tommy Albelin found Langenbrunner down low for the
In the final minute, the rough stuff continued. Arron Asham and
Wiemer jousted with several Devils, namely Danton who had run over
DiPietro earlier. When Ken Daneyko jumped in, Mattias Timander came
in to even things out.
DiPietro continued to stand strong between the Islander pipes. At one
point, Schultz deflected a pass from Gionta during a Devils' 2-on-1
on net. It forced DiPietro to spilt his pads and fight off the puck.
After that, the Devils went on another man-advantage when Schultz was
tabbed for a late roughing call.
During the powerplay, NJ continued to battle for the equalizer.
DiPietro robbed Scott Gomez on the doorstep, who had the Islander
dead-to-rights on the ice. But the Islander netminder managed to
stretch out along the ice and catch Gomez's wrister.
With NJ's Stevens in the box, Aucoin put the icing on a superb game
with his second of the game with 3:57 left. The defenseman ripped a
shot through Bates' screen in front of Schwab.
Lapointe seal the contest with 8.3 left when he scored on the empty
net. Isbister alert play of chipping the puck past Rafalski was the
key on the goal.
(17) Shawn Bates-(79) Alexei Yashin-(37) Mark Parrish
(15) Brad Isbister-(38) Dave Scatchard-(12) Oleg Kvasha
(16) Raffi Torres-(28) Jason Wiemer-(45) Arron Asham
(55) Jason Blake-(13) Claude Lapointe-(49) Eric Godard
(29) Kenny Jonsson-(3) Adrian Aucoin
(39) Ray Schultz-(24) Radek Martinek
(33) Eric Cairns-(2) Mattias Timander
(1) Rick DiPietro
(35) Chris Osgood