Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/1/10
Courtesy of SuburbanOneSports.com
“Savor every second. Savor every single second.”
That was the message to Wissahickon’s players in their post-game huddle after Friday night’s electrifying 8-7 win over neighboring Upper Dublin in a Suburban One American Conference game, and if ever there was a win to savor, this was it.
The Trojans won it when senior Garret Rosiek – in his first game
action after being sidelined for two weeks with a wrist injury – scored a come-around goal with 1.7 seconds remaining in the third overtime, setting off the kind of giddy celebration reserved for magical wins like this one.
“I heard people screaming, ‘Garret, go to goal. Garret, go to goal,’ and I saw 10 seconds left,” said Rosiek, who also scored the game winner in the fifth overtime in the initial meeting between the two teams three weeks ago. “I just had 10 seconds left, so I’m not going to hold onto the ball. I’m tired.
“Coach said, ‘Never go side-armed,’ but I went side-armed. He will probably yell at me tomorrow.”
It’s doubtful that Rosiek will get in too much trouble for a goal that sent the large contingent of Trojan fans home happy. Especially considering the remarkable comeback by the never-say-die Trojans in the closing minutes of regulation.
The win was the ninth straight for the Trojans, who improved to 9-3 overall and 9-0 in the conference. Upper Dublin fell to 6-7 and 6-4.
The Trojans trailed 7-4 with less than three minutes remaining, and even their staunchest fans had to be questioning whether a comeback was possible against a stingy Flying Cardinal defense.
Wissahickon goalie Sean Smith admits he was concerned.
“I’m scared, but I know the team can pull through because we have worked so hard together as a team for the past four years,” the senior goalkeeper said. “That’s what our team is about – it’s about building and coming back from performances like that.”
The Trojans were facing a deficit that seemed all but insurmountable, but this squad knows how to battle, and the Trojans began to crawl back into the game.
It began innocently enough with a goal by Jeff Gebert at the 2:04 mark, and when Rosiek found Nick Lucchesi for the score with 1:29 remaining, it was a 7-6 game.
The Trojans – their fans roaring with approval – came up with the ball on the ensuing face-off, and a comeback was no longer out of the realm of possibility.
Moments later, Upper Dublin goalie Kevin Slider turned away a shot by Brian Frankenfield, but it was only a temporary reprieve as Lucchesi was there for the rebound, connecting on the equalizer with 1:06 remaining.
“I told them last night, ‘If we get down, strap up the work boots, grab the lunch pail and put on the hard hat. Just take it one at a time, get back in it, keep your cool,’” Trojan coach Anthony Gabriele said. “The maturity level of this team has grown so much over the past two months that they just handled it.
“They didn’t panic. If you looked at us earlier in the season, we were panicking. We kept at it, and we kept working. This is what we’ve been working towards.”
One heartstopping overtime followed another. The first featured limited opportunities by both teams, the second, several Trojan chances, but Slider – who turned away 13 shots – came up with a pair of huge saves, and the stage was set for a third OT.
If the game was intense from the opening face-off – and it was, the intensity level increased dramatically in the sudden death overtime periods.
What was it like on the field?
“Nerveracking,” Smith said. “Just the intensity – the game starts, and it’s intense, and it gets into that first overtime, and intensity of the crowd is in my head. It’s just crazy the pressure that’s on me.
“I just feed off of it, and it makes me play better.”
Smith (five saves) as well as the Trojans’ entire defensive unit game up big all night, and after the Flying Cardinals came up empty after gaining control on the opening face-off, the Trojans took possession. They made this one count as Rosiek – injured wrist and all – came through when it mattered most.
“We have been stressing all year about owning it,” Rosiek said of a slogan that is on the Trojans’ t-shirts this season. “We have 12 seniors, and we have been playing together for so long.
“This is our year, and we’re not stopping. We said every single time on offense – ‘We’re not losing this game, and if we’re losing it, we’re throwing the whole kitchen sink at them.’”
And that’s exactly what the Trojans did.
While Wissahickon’s players converged for a jubilant celebration, the Flying Cardinals looked on in stunned silence, several frozen in their positions on the field.
According to coach John Levine, the Flying Cardinals were expecting nothing less than the epic battle Friday’s game turned into.
“We kind of let it slide in the fourth quarter,” he said. “We had several opportunities.
“It’s a shame that someone has to win and someone has to lose in both the games that we played, but good job to Wissahickon. It looks like they’re pretty much going to take the league at this point.”
For the better part of 48 minutes, it looked as though the Flying Cardinals would be putting at least a temporary roadblock on the Trojans’ title aspirations.
Upper Dublin scored first when Jacob Long – who finished with the hat track – turned a pass by Mike Rama into a goal at the 10:17 mark of the opening quarter. Three minutes later, Steve Carrozza found his way through the Cardinals’ defense for a goal to knot the score.
Long answered with a come-around goal, and then Willy Beury picked up a loose ball near the crease and scored to put the Flying Cardinals on top 4-1 at the end of one quarter. It looked as though that lead might hold up until halftime, but Lucchesi – who led the Trojans with three goals – had other ideas, bursting through the defense for a goal to make it a 4-2 game at the intermission.
The Trojans rallied to knot the score in the fourth period, connecting on back-to-back goals by Rosiek and Brian Dick within a 12-second span. That tie lasted all of 27 seconds as Beury answered for the Cardinals, who took a 5-4 lead into the final quarter.
Goals by Long and Alex Faust (Casey Boyd assist) extended that lead to 7-4 with 8:16 remaining, and a win seemed all but assured. To everyone but the Trojans, that is, who staged a comeback and earned a win they’ll be talking about for a long, long time.
“They’re our rivals, so we know we’re going to come to play,” Rosiek said. “This is one of the biggest games – it’s always the biggest game. It’s Upper Dublin/Wissahickon – five minutes apart from each other.
“I haven’t been a part of it for two weeks, so coming back and actually having an impact is just awesome.”
“Upper Dublin came out on fire,” Gabriele added. “After we beat them the last time, I said, ‘I guarantee you they’ve marked this date on their calendars.’ We told them to take the initial hit and then just one step at a time – push forward, push forward, push forward, and we’re going to walk away with a win. And we did.
NOTES: Rosiek played with a heavily taped wrist after just one day of practice. “They thought I broke my wrist, and I’d be out for the season,” he said. “I got an x-ray – nothing broken or fractured, but I didn’t go to the orthopedic (doctor). The past two weeks I could barely move it, but it’s my senior year. Coach Gabrielle has been my coach for six years, and I wasn’t going to not come back. I would rather play with one good hand than not play at all. It’s crazy.” And how did his wrist feel after Friday’s win? “I’m in a lot of pain,” he said. A win certainly made that pain a whole lot more bearable than if the Trojans had lost.
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