Nazareth controlled the initial face after a midfield scrum until Justin Wahl let one fly wide. Salisbury, in the first stanza of what would be a game long overwhelming time of possession advantage, gave it a whirl with Andy Murray first. He started by challenging Naz shorti Mike McGrath on the wing but fell to the turf as he tried to roll back on lean- in. McGrath, who plays good body, got a little too aggressive and shoved Murray from behind as he was gaining his feet.
Salisbury would convert, and draw first blood, on the resulting :30 second man-up. After normal rotation up the wings, Andy Arnold, operating from top center, found Naz to be packed in a little too tightly. He stepped into the gap and ripped one offside hip on goalie Alex Civalier. It would ignite a 4-0 first quarter run.
Soon after the first goal, Arnold again took charge and pulled a sharp inside roll on the right pipe after driving from behind. Civalier robbed him on the doorstep (the roll was too quick to allow for a slide from the middle) but couldn’t get to middie James Simpson’s garbage rip from the other side once Civalier’s deflection careened the other way. It was the first of many occasions where Salisbury was just much quicker and more aggressive in controlling loose ball opportunities. They also packed more players onto the crease – rebounds abounded today, and Salisbury was definitely in the win column on second chance clean-up shots.
Nazareth managed to finally gain control on another Civalier save after the faceoff, but Salisbury’s Joe Parker rode out a clearing Chad Amidon at midfield. So back down Naz’s throat it came, with the Flyers using a tight zone that had only one man on a string pop out to cover the ball. Nazareth was taking the chance that Salisbury would respect the talent of Civalier enough to not pepper them from the outside. It worked – Coach Berkman would later comment that he didn’t want his guys taking shots from outside of ten yards. But it also had the effect of giving the Gulls very long periods with which to break down the zone.
It was after one of those lengthy offensive sets that Salisbury pushed their lead to 3-0; Bryan Bradford nailed a righty rip across the top that caught Civalier’s shoulder and deflected in.
After virtually no possession time, Nazareth finally got an opportunity when Bryan Adams almost popped one on the door step after a tight feed into a packed crease. But goalie Dan Korpon stepped out and stoned it high.
Salisbury, in addition to having the ball most of the time, was also making clearing a nightmare for the Flyers. They would drop into a deep 3-3 and force Nazareth to pay undue attention to keeping guys onsides and making tight, pinpoint passes. And they’d couple that with attackmen that took their defensive role very seriously – their Nazareth counterparts didn’t attack their clearing defensemen with the same intensity.
Middie Justin Smith continued the scoring for the Gulls (4-0 at this point) with a quick little ole` from the top left of the box on a shorti. He set his feet after putting away the red blanket and cranked it overhand.
Nazareth would finally get on the board when TJ Rogers took an arc from behind towards the top right. Longstick Sean White got too aggressive chasing him out of the box so Rogers rolled back underneath, got 2 steps on White, and crease support Evan Howard was slow to slide. Rogers buried it.
But Salisbury would pad out their lead again in exciting fashion. Justin Smith drew a double team, and a host of slashes, as he was coming across the middle from right to left. As he was falling to the turf, and away from the goal, he dumped a one-handed backhand to Mike Ricucci just to his left. Ricucci wound up and buried it righty from eight yards out.
The first quarter would end on a great cherry pick from longstick Francis Donald at the top of the box. He would leg out the clear himself only to see Salisbury’s close defense collapse on a bull dodge off the pipe with just few seconds remaining in the quarter and Salisbury up 4-1.
The second quarter would start with a force feed from high to low by Salisbury’s Eric Martin after a clear. It resulted in a Naz possession that middie Brandon Brown converted on with a drive along GLE against a shorti – he gained inside position and dumped it past Korpon.
More good fortune for Naz would ensue when attackman Justin Wahl drove the pipe and drew a hold call on defenseman Jeff Bigas. He would finish the job himself on the EMO; stationed at the top of the box and Naz in a 4-2 with everyone in front of the goal. He stepped into it and nailed a blast from the top.
Nazareth would begin to close the gap. They got to within one when Chad Amidon streaked from the faceoff circle, feigned a pass across the top of the break formation, then took a dive bomb down the middle. He sunk a righty overhand as the trailing tomahawk from behind was too little, too late.
Salisbury controlled the face and was awarded a man-up after a Naz slash, but Justin Wahl was able to run out the Gulls EMO after a Flyer clear and some Salisbury pursuit. Salisbury’s Andy Murray then got caught holding to give Naz an EMO of their own .
But after a wide shot, defenseman Eric Martin ran it out after a weak ground ball effort from Naz’s attack. Timeout Salisbury, their first of the game. Salisbury then pushed ahead 6-4 when Andy Arnold drew a double to X while rolling back and forth, then fed it up to Justin Smith at the righty’s shooter spot for an easy blast.
Nazareth would again answer, to make it 6-5, on TJ Rogers’ lefty blast as he was driving the left wing against a shorti. Another answer from Salisbury. It went 7-5 courtesy of Andy Arnold after Nazareth close defenseman Francis Donald fumbled a clear just outside the box and Arnold was standing clear in the middle of the box. He grabbed he feed from the turnover and had an unimpeded look and finish.
More streak goals would close out the half. It moved to 7-6 when Naz attackman Bryan Coon inside rolled on the right pipe against shortstick Tom Cowles, powered underneath and hit it five hole.
Force feeds from high to low on the part of each team ended runs for both squads. Naz was also becoming less timid, and pressing out a little farther on Defense now. It looked little less like they were just trying to keep it close.
An Emo ensued for the Gulls when Flyer attackman Justin Wahl tip-toed the midfield line after chasing longstick Eric Martin up the sideline on a clear. The refs gave a quick body count and threw the flag. Corey O’Neil would convert it, and push it to 8-6, after the Gulls set up in a low 2-4 and O’Neil drove across lefty to hit a jump shot.
It immediately bumped to 8-7 via Nazareth’s Bryan Adams. Civalier robbed a point blank dump and lofted it up to Adams, who was streaking upfield. Adams, who kept on trucking down the right side, buried it with a running overhand.
With 0:16 seconds left in half Naz calls timeout to set up an iso, but Justin Wahl couldn’t get enough angle. The half ends
Nazareth’s Bryan Adams busted out of the gate with a wing ground ball but shot wide, Gulls recovered and pushed their lead up one. Scott Simmons drove the left pipe from up top and got position underneath for a righty dip and dunk.
Then a series of great saves would punctuate the sharp offensive sets. When Naz found themselves up a minute after Jeff Bigas was flagged for an illegal bodycheck, they started in a 1-4-1 but let several shots go wide. The Gulls eventually recovered and Civalier stoned a turnaround in the hole that came from a high to low feed. Naz was back in a tight zone that saw the Gulls control for extended periods until a potential Mike Ricucci garbage goal on the crease was waved off after Arnold’s crease violation (diving in a lose ball effort).
The Flyers then controlled, but Brandon Brown’s ill-advised rip from the side was gobbled up by a pipe-hugging Korpon. Salisbury then had some good success dumping it to cutters underneath that were moving across the grain, but Civalier was huge, anticipating the shots and moving across the face of the goal quickly.
More goalie heroics from Civalier. He stoned Justin Smith on the pipe during an EMO that skipped a pass from up top. Smith faked high and went high, and Civalier read it well.
More possession for the Gulls until an interference call on Andy Murray, near a loose ball on the sidelines, let Mike McGrath have a go at ripping it. His teammate, Ryan Hotaling, made it 9-8 when he inside rolled on Joe Parker from the right pipe behind. Defenseman Eric Martin was hovering just north of the crease but was nervous about coming off of his man. Ryan Hotaling turned quickly and beat Korpon low. Oddly, Naz didn’t even celebrate the goal that got them to within one – there was no emotion. And while the score was close you could sense that Salisbury had supreme confidence, while Nazareth seemed content to keep it close.
One more tally to pad out the quarter, 10-8. Salisbury’s Corey O’Neil drove the right pipe from up top and pulled a sweet underhanded dump to Ryan Rhode, who was cutting underneath the slide. Rhode grabbed the feed, drove around the goal lefty and stuck it as he was falling to the crease. End of third quarter.
Naz began taking it to the Gulls a little more on defense. They extended far enough to cause some panic on Salisbury’s perimeter game – something the Gulls had had the luxury of taking their time with. In a strong declaration of Naz’s new intensity, Andy Arnold got held up in the middle by the Flyers close defense and then essentially body slammed once he got too deep into traffic.
But Salisbury’s defense stayed strong -- Korpon smothered a rip from up top and started the clear. Salisbury had a little trouble moving it between the lines, but Naz’s attack was starting to get a little lazy on the gb’s. It moved to 11-8 when Salisbury frosh Mike Edwards was wheeling and dealing from back left and Scott Simmons cut down from the crease after a little two person crease play – his trailer was late and Naz paid for it. Simmons placed it bottom left on Civalier, who was stepping up to meet him high.
A silly lefty behind the back from Justin Wahl followed, one that defenseman Eric Martin just caught on the pipe and cleared it coast to coast himself. Salisbury then played some keep away with the 2 shorti’s being drawn behind and all others hanging tight at the top of the hole. It took another Civalier save to get Naz another chance on offense.
Civalier, the game MVP, was registered with 20 saves at this point, his career high.
More shorti keep-away now, with under 7:00 to go, until Corey Kizielewcz came behind and doubled for a takeaway. Naz brought it down and nailed a pipe, grabbed the rebound and then Korpon had to make a kick save on the follow-up rip. Salisbury took that kick save rebound and fed it up to Andy Arnold at the top of the 4-3 break – he sunk the righty rip from 10 yards out.
Nazareth would close yet again when, during a break initiated by longstick Michael Field, Brian Navarra was coming in from the box during the clear and left unattended for a little too long. The lack of intensity from the Gulls on the break coverage allowed
Field, coming down the right side, to have an easy look to Navarra drifting down the left. Salisbury was slow to recognize Navarra as a threat to shoot – he buried a lefty high burner.
Blatant keep-way now on the part of Salisbury now – Civalier was even covering a middie at the top of the box. Justin Smith did a good job running away a lot and Salisbury ate up the last 3 minutes with this stuff. Andy Arnold finally decided to shoot when the open goal became too irresistible. 13-9 Gulls, the eventual final. Naz won the final faceoff and drew a 1:00 slash penalty with 0:04 to go.
Salisbury vs. Nazareth
|Andy Arnold||(4, 1)|
|Scott Simmons||(3, 2)|
|Justin Smith||(2, 1)|
|Corey O'neil||(1, 1)|
|Mike Ricucci||(1, 1)|
|Ryan Rohde||(1, 0)|
|Mike Edwards||(0, 1)|
|Brian Oakley||(0, 1)|
|Bryan Bradford||(1, 0)|
|Andrew Reed||(0, 1)|