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Local hockey prospect John Schiavo lights up the internet

SchiavoLeave it to a kid from Long Island to treat a hockey puck like a lacrosse ball to grab the attention of the sports world.

East Patchogue native John Schiavo scored two highlight-reel goals at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn Wednesday night during the NHL’s prospects camps, which just wrapped up today. The goals, both caught on video, helped land Schiavo the top spot on CBS Sports’ Top 5 most ridiculous plays from NHL prospects camp so far.

Playing for the Islanders’ blue squad, the lacrosse-style move saw Schiavo cradle the puck up to his shoulders and then tuck it neatly over the goalkeeper, who happens to be a friend of his, Anthony Pupplo of Shirley.

Schiavo also pulled off a between-the-legs move and one-handed goal for another dazzler, though on a different goalie.

The 21-year-old unsigned free agent said he’s actually never played lacrosse, or any other sport for that matter, other than ice hockey and roller hockey. He said he’d been messing around with his cradle move for about two or three years.

“But I’ve never been able to do it on a a big stage like the Barclays,” he said.

About 4,000 people were at the arena for the blue-and-white scrimmage among Islanders prospects, including many of Schiavo’s friends and family members. It wasn’t until later that night, after he got back to the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale and recharged his phone, that he realized he was a bit of an internet sensation.

“My phone was just going nuts,” he said.

Schiavo said puck-handling tricks have always been part of his game, and they come with much practice.

“I mess around all the time at the rink with crazy tricks, put up YouTube videos [see below] things like that,” he said. “I love being creative on the ice or the roller hockey rink. It’s just something I like to do.”

As for whether he thought his instant notoriety would help him sign a professional contract in the near future, Schiavo said he could only hope so.

“I think it definitely helps get my name out there, but sometimes coaches don’t like that fancy stuff,” he said. “I hope that it works in my way, but if not it was definitely something I would still do anyway. It was just fun for me.”

He also disputed online assertions that it would haven been an illegal goal if he dunked that puck in an actual game.

“You can definitely pull it off in a game,’ he said. “As long as the stick is not above the crossbar [it’s legal.] Though what I did was really close to that.”

Schiavo is described on the Islander’s website as “one of the local invites to camp. He scored eight goals and 14 assists in his first season in the USPHL and is a great stickhandler.”

mike@greaterpatchogue.com

Caption: John Schiavo during a scrimmage Saturday at Twin Rinks Ice Center and Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. (Credit: Cassidy Chreene/New York Islanders)

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John Schiavo at the Barclays Center Wednesday night. (Credit: Courtesy photo)

About the author: Michael White

Michael White is a Bellport resident, longtime newspaper reporter and editor, and the owner of greaterpatchogue.com. Email him your story ideas or tips: mike@greaterpatchogue.com