With the rookies contributing, and veteran Matt Rewkowski turning in a five point day (3, 2), the Pride used a big third quarter to push past the San Francisco dragons 10-7. Behind a solid defensive effort and 19 saves from Rob Scherr, the Pride won their second-straight game.
NEW JERSEY PRIDE PRESS RELEASE
PISCATAWAY - Don’t look now, but the Pride have suddenly become a lethal second-half team.
After being badly outplayed in the second half in the team’s three losses, the Pride dominated the Rattlers last week to earn their first win, and again repeated the effort against San Francisco en route to a 10-7 win which suddenly places them back in the thick of a tight Eastern Conference race.
The Pride trailed 5-2 at the half, and looked sluggish throughout the opening frame.
“In easy terms,” Pride coach Peter Jacobs said, “I told them to play better [at halftime.]
“We had some hard luck in the first half – hit a few posts – but at the end of the day, we weren’t playing well.”
The Pride looked to be in danger of falling further behind as they started the half killing a penalty to their defensive captain Ryan McClay. Rob Scherr made two stops on the kill however, and the Pride followed up with a Matt Rewkowski goal, sparking a 7-1 quarter.
“I was just hoping I could make a save,” Scherr said. “I was lucky enough to make the saves when we were down, particularly two men down. It’s tough, but I came up with them.”
The Pride followed the Rewkowski goal with strong play from their rookies to knot the score up. Jordan Levine took the ball on the ensuing draw and fired one past Matt Vallone to pull the Pride within one. Brendan Loftus answered for San Francisco, but Levine added his second to again narrow the score.
Now within one, it was a rookie defenseman that brought the Pride back to level footing. Joe Cinosky scooped up a ground ball in the defensive zone and brought the ball downfield, through traffic and beat Vallone for his first career goal to make the score 6-6.
“I was really excited,” the New Jersey native said of notching his first score before a hometown crowd. “My parents got to come, and everyone else I know.”
Greg Peyser and Conor Ford added a pair of quick scores to give the Pride their first lead of the game at 8-6, and Matt Rewkowski completed the dominant quarter with a goal at the 11:33 mark to make the game 9-6 heading into the final period.
Rewkowski continued the Pride’s run by completing his hat-trick 4:02 into the final frame to extend the Pride lead to 10-6.
“I try to do whatever Coach Jacobs asked,” Rewkowski said. “I pride myself on being versatile, and I guess I had a bit of a breakout night tonight. A lot of that has to do with the play of my teammates.”
“We need contributions from everyone if we’re going to keep winning,” Jacobs said. “One of the things I’m looking for is balance everywhere on the field. If that means Rewkowski scoring and Levine getting two, and Merrick [Thomson] not having to score four, that’s just fine by me.”
The team’s defensive effort was again headlined by strong play in goal by Scherr, who looks likely to repeat as MLL Goalie of the week.
“He’s been a brick wall,” Cinosky said of Scherr. “Fifty saves in two games (Scherr’s numbers in the Pride’s prior two outings) is unheard of. It’s good to have him back there as a security for if you get beat.”
Scherr remained humble in the face of another strong outing on the wake of a week which finally saw the previously unheralded net minder get some national attention.
“Any time people are talking about you, you have to perform,” Scherr said. “Our offense was tearing it up in the second half, and I was just lucky to make the saves when I needed to.”
Scherr’s coach agreed.
“I though last week he deserved to get Goalie of the Week,” Jacobs said, “now one of these days, maybe he’ll get the TV Player of the Game. To give up, what I’m calling six-and-a-half goals, is terrific.”
The game marked the second consecutive strong outing from the team’s young defense.
“They played good,” Jacobs said. “Even early I thought our defense played well, even when we were giving up a lot of goals, we were playing good defense.”
The Pride were also helped out by improved play at face-off, where Justin Berry won 11-of-20 draws for the Pride.
“I think Justin did a good job,” Jacobs said, “and I think our wing play did a good job.
“Justin did a good job tying up, and then our wings -- whether it was McClay, McDevitt, Levine or Peyser – did a good job of scooping it up.”
Thomson led the Pride scoring effort in the first quarter. Jake Byrne got the Dragons on the board first with a goal 1:06 into the opening session, but Matt Rewkowski found Thomson at 3:56 to knot the score.
Byrne answered with a feed to Ryan Cranston for the 2-1 Dragons edge, but Thomson again was there to answer, this time with an assist from Chris Unterstein.
The Dragons used a bit of good fortune to push out to a 4-2 lead. Greg Gurenlian won the quarters opening draw and took it down for a quick tally just 8 seconds into the quarter. The Pride then struck the post twice, first with a laser by Stephen Peyser, then an in-deep attempt by Thomson, and the Dragons responded with a second goal at 5:49 of the second, for a 4-2 lead.
The Dragons extended their lead to 502 with just 18 seconds to go in the half with a Tim Booth goal. Scherr stopped 8-of-13 first half shots, and Vallone stopped 8-of-10 Pride efforts.
Jersey native Matt Lally ended the Pride’s run with a goal at 12:23 of the fourth quarter to cut the Pride lead to 10-7, but it was too late for the Dragons.
|Matthew Rewkowski||(3, 2)|
|Jordan Levine||(2, 1)|
|Merrick Thomson||(2, 0)|
|Gregory Peyser||(1, 1)|
|Stephen Peyser||(0, 1)|
|Conor Ford||(1, 0)|
|Joe Cinosky||(1, 0)|
|Christopher Unterstein||(0, 1)|
|Robert Scherr||19 (0.731)|
|New Jersey Pride||2-3|