NASSAU COUNTY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It’s been 23 long years for the Islanders and their fans, but now “Islanders Mania” is sweeping New York following their Game 6 win over the Florida Panthers in double overtime to advance to the second round.
CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Monday that long-suffering fans are proudly showing off the team’s colors as the Islanders won a playoff series for the first time since 1993.
“I screamed at the top of my lungs,” Cristian Quijada, of Freeport, said of John Tavares’ game-winning goal. “I mean, I just lost it. After all these years as an Islanders fan, I’m just so proud of them.”
The Islander faithful have been flashing their jerseys and caps in happy triumph a day after the win.
“There are no words for what Islanders fans are feeling right now,” 22-year-old Frank Borelli, of Uniondale, said.
Borelli wasn’t even born the last time the Islanders advanced in the playoffs. His father owns a neighboring restaurant that’s popular with the players.
The hockey-crazy clan gathered at their parents’ home to witness the wild finish.
“When I knew he did it, I was already on the way to my family, who were actually watching from in bed, and we just had this huge, big family pileup,” Borelli said.
The euphoric playoff run has die-hard fans like Bob Hess wishing the team that won four straight Stanley Cups in the 1980s could return to Nassau County.
“What I do know is they should come back. Forget about Brooklyn, forget about the Barclays Center,” Bob Hess, of Baldwin, said.
The Islanders will face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round.
No game dates have been set yet, but tickets will go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m.