Boston took their first and only lead, at 2-1, just five minutes into the first after a nice Traynor to Massey combo and a David Evans unassisted rip. But two :30 second penalties on Battista and Strutt, with about five minutes between EMO's, gave Long Island their only other points in the quarter -- Powell fed Vinnie Sombrotto on the doorstep for one and the Powell took it himself on the left wing for the other, a 7 yard rip. With the offensive talent on the field, and the fact that the defenses clearly don't have any real practice time together, giving either of these teams an extra man is almost a gimme. The first ended at 4-3 when Boston cleared and moved it to Evans behind with about five seconds left -- Evans paused for a second and then bolted around the left pipe with a dropped stick for a no angle miracle by Daye.
For those of you keeping score at home, Long Island's version of the MLL Fun Team was a bunch of kids with big fluorescent green wigs and black and white face paint. There were also dancers on top of the dugout.
Tim Goettleman started off the action in the second when he finished an easy break, low and righty, off of Gait's run down the middle after a turnover. It was one of many times Boston's team defense would look disoriented when spread; Gait simply drew a slide up from the post, and Tim G basically walked in on Daye when the Cannons failed to make even a second slide. Then a whole slew of scoring. Massey got Boston within one again when he ripped it from the righty wing. Another Strutt penalty, and another EMO feed for Powell from X (this one to Riordan on the crease after Powell camped out behind with no pressure). Then Gait tried driving down the left wing, but gave up and dished it to Sombrotto behind. Gait cut to the middle on a turned head, took Sombrotto's give and go, and let loose with the most unnatural right handed shot I've ever seen him take. He buried it low anyways. On the next face, Towers pushed it forward on Weiden and drove straight down the middle for a 7-5 tally.
Daye forced a little break in the scoring with some splitting, acrobatic saves and some really quick offside high moves. He even helped the Cannons get within one when he drew an on-the-head as he was pushing the ball upfield. Radebaugh controlled behind on the EMO and hit Battista streaking to the near pipe for a righty (the arm where he was covered) finish as Battista dove into the crease. And just :15 seconds after that, Massey ripped one righty with a guy draped all over his elbow for a 7-7 tie. But Weiden kept winning faceoffs. The Hopkins' grad won the next one cleanly and pushed it to Goettleman on the bottom of the 4-3 break. Tim G finished, again with relative ease. Another Weiden face, some more confusion from Boston's defense, and Goettleman fed Riordan cutting in the seam for a score that Riordan was just way too open on. Another break on the face for Long Island, but after Powell moved a pretty behind the back one-timer to Goettleman on the pipe, Daye stuffed him low to end the half with the Lizards up 9-7.
The only unifying theme to the game so far had been the bizarre stretches of easy goals. When it got settled into a six on six for any amount of time, both defenses would play solid position and communicate well. In fact, Kuczma was eating up Casey Powell (Powell's 1 and 2 on the day all came from EMO) and Long Island's Spallina and Kisslinger were playing tough ball. But the moment a faceoff was taken, or a clear came down in any sort of unsettled fashion, everyone was face-guarding and falling asleep on the slides. Boston's Greg Traynor remarked, "I think it all came down to ground balls...whoever was winning the faceoffs was going down and scoring the goals...we haven't had the luxury of getting everyone together at practice yet".
The third started with a bang from Gait. After Riordan got stripped behind he managed to goose the loose ball to Gait at X. Gait drove straight for the right pipe and launched himself at Daye's ankles from behind. His outstretched, one-handed, leaping goal had Billy Daye searching the side of the net because he couldn't believe it went in. Then David Evans got Boston back to within two when he backed into Spallina, with force, from the left wing and turned to the inside for an overhand righty rip to Carc's offside ankles. Spallina looked like he was trying to push a 400lb blocking sled. Huff from Sombrotto on the crease. Riordan on the left pipe. Sombrotto sneaking around righty from behind and sticking it. It was now 13-8 Long Island. Boston's Coach Whiteley on why he chose to use a shorti on Goettleman, "We were going to do it to their 3rd attackman [cover with the shorti]. I mean, you've got Gait, Riordan, and Powell, so we had to choose our matchups".
Boston staged a little bit of a rally late in the third, closing it to one at 13-12. When Gagliardi got nailed for a slash, Tim Goldstein found Traynor cutting down the middle on the EMO. Goldstein's getting up there in years, but he can still see the field really well. Then Traynor pulled the same dive pattern down the middle, this time starting with the ball, and he stuck it behind the back on Carc. 13-11 on Busza's coast to coast clear and roll dodge into the middle (a middle that was yet again wide open after the transition). 13-12, and the end of the third, when Massey pulled a carbon copy of Gait's righty one-handed dive from behind the goal.
Goettleman started the fourth with his fourth goal of the night, this one after gathering it on the right pipe and spinning through some heavy traffic. The Gait just took the ball top center and split to his left for a running low lefty rip and a 15-12 lead. But Boston's Goldstein countered with a lay-up from Andy Towers faceoff work and fast break dump. All of the above goals seemed to come in the span of about a minute. With 9:00 to go in the game, Goettleman grabbed his game-high 5th goal when he found himself covered by a shorti to Daye's behind right. Tim G waited for some of the traffic out front to clear up and then got a step to the inside for his pet drive-lefty-to-the-right-pipe-and-box-out-for-the-righty-shot move. It worked, as anything with that many hyphens damn well better. The icing on the cake came when Gait bulled lethargically down the left wing and then effortlessly whipped it behind his back to Daye's offside hip for the 17-13 lead. Daye was partially screened by Gait defenseman and had no chance.
The crowd got pumped at Gait's rip, but that would be it for the night -- the PA announcer tried three or four times to elicit anything from the crowd, all to no avail (even the lead up to "Charge!!" didn't draw a murmur). Boston's Traynor closed out the scoring with 2:00 minutes left on a nice feed from Evans and three last second timeouts.
Long Island Lizards vs. Boston Cannons
|Long Island Lizards||2-1|