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Friday, January 30, 2015

It Happened at the Coliseum … on JANUARY 30th

19 years ago tonight (1996) – Mathieu Schneider scored with 2:41 to play in overtime to give the Islanders a 5-4 win over Buffalo. 

The Sabres had rallied from 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3 deficits to force the extra session.  Former Islander Pat Lafontaine scored twice, including at 19:55 of the third period, to send the game into overtime.

LaFontaine’s heroics threatened to spoil the NHL debut of Islander netminder Eric Fichaud but the veteran Schneider, who served as the Isles captain in the absence of Pat Flatley, beat Dominik Hasek for the winning goal. Schneider told Newsday’s Jim Smith: "Everyone was just looking toward (Bob Sweeney, who had eight career OT goals). I was able to sneak in behind LaFontaine untouched and sneak one home."

"Tonight's the most beautiful day of my life," the 20 year old Fichaud told Newsday’s Jim Smith. "I can't believe {the Islanders} scored at the end”.  Fichaud became the 5th Islander goalie to win his NHL debut but he would win only 22 NHL games in his career, including 19 for the Islanders.

Future Islander Captain Michael Peca had two assists for Buffalo.  Alex Semak, Niklas Andersson, Travis Green and Derek King had the other goals for the Isles, who broke a 5-game losing streak.

The video is from Buffalo's (now defunct) Empire Sports Network.  Legendary Sabre voice Rick Jeanneret (who recently returned to the booth after battling throat cancer has the call):

Jeanneret is famous for his exhuberant goal calls, including this one for a former Islander star:

Also on this date: (1998) – Tommy Salo made 31 saves as the Isles blanked Carolina 2-0.  Paul Kruse and Robert Reichel scored for New York.

All-time, the Isles have played eleven January 30th games at the Coliseum and finish with a 5-4-1 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. 

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