For hockey fans, there are few things more exciting and intense than a rivalry match-up. In North America, there are countless teams that have storied histories and intense rivalries, but today we will be taking a closer look at one specific team and their most important matchups. Long Island University (LIU) has a long and rich history in the world of sports, and their hockey program is no exception. Let’s dive into the historic matchups of this renowned university and relive some of their most memorable moments on the ice.
Foundations: The Early Years of LIU Hockey
Founded in 1926, Long Island University has a long and distinguished history in the world of sports. In the early 1940s, LIU’s hockey program began to attract attention, quickly earning a reputation as a top team in the northeast. Their most intense rival during this time was nearby Hofstra University. The two schools shared a fierce rivalry that often resulted in sell-out crowds.
During this time, LIU made a name for itself as a powerhouse team, winning the Eastern Intercollegiate Hockey League championship in 1942 and 1943. Led by head coach Arthur Schabinger and featuring star players like George Pazulinec and Joe Alleva, the team became known for their speed, skill, and tenacity on the ice.
Hofstra vs. LIU: A Classic Rivalry
In the 1950s, the rivalry between Hofstra and LIU continued to heat up, with both teams consistently ranking among the top college hockey teams in the country. With the exception of a few years, the two teams faced off in the annual Turkey Day Cup, drawing in large crowds and intense competition.
One of the most memorable moments in the Hofstra vs. LIU rivalry came in 1955, when the two teams faced off in a heated game that ended in a 6-6 tie. With only a few minutes left in the third period, LIU’s star player, John Reagan, scored two quick goals to tie the game. The atmosphere in the arena was electric as fans cheered wildly for their respective teams.
This rivalry continued into the 1960s, with LIU dominating the series, winning several Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference championships during this time. However, as the decade came to a close, LIU’s stunning win streak came to an end, with Hofstra finally coming out on top in 1969.
The Long Island Cup: A Battle for Bragging Rights
Another important matchup for LIU’s hockey team was the annual Long Island Cup, a tournament that featured some of the top college teams in the region. This tournament was intense, with bragging rights on the line for the best hockey team on Long Island.
LIU consistently performed well in the tournament, facing off against rival teams such as Adelphi University and Mercyhurst University. In 1997, LIU’s star player Joe Heming scored the game-winning goal in the final minutes of the Long Island Cup to secure a victory over Mercyhurst, bringing home a trophy that had eluded the team for several years.
LIU vs. UConn: A Modern-Day Rivalry
In the late 2000s, LIU’s hockey program was revived after a brief hiatus. As the team returned to the ice, a new rivalry emerged with the University of Connecticut (UConn). With both teams vying for top rankings in the Northeast Collegiate Hockey Conference, the stage was set for some intense games.
In 2018, LIU and UConn faced off in their first meeting since 2008. The game was a nail-biter, with UConn coming out on top in a 4-3 overtime win. Despite the loss, LIU showed their tenacity and determination, solidifying their place as a worthy competitor in the conference.
Looking to the Future: LIU’s Expansion Team
In 2019, LIU announced that their hockey program would be expanding to include a Division I team, adding to their already impressive roster of sports teams. With this expansion, LIU looks to solidify their dominance on the ice and continue to build upon their legacy of fierce competition and intense rivalries.
As we look to the future, it will be exciting to see how this expansion team will fare against their historic rivals and new challengers. One thing is for certain – LIU’s rich history, skilled players, and passionate fan base will continue to make them a formidable presence in the world of collegiate hockey.