Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/13/10
By Alex Frazier
Courtesy of SuburbanOneSports.com
Like two boxers in a prizefight, the punches came in bunches.
First, Central Bucks East landed a trio of jabs, and then Hatboro-Horsham answered with three of its own. Then for nearly three quarters it was a battle of defenses as each team parried its opponent’s blows.
But at 6:45 of the last quarter with the score tied at five apiece, C.B. East delivered the knockout punch when junior attackman Matt Brodzik took a pass from Ben Auteri behind the cage and beat Dino Vitale for what turned out to be the decisive goal in the battle of Suburban One Continental Conference boys’ lacrosse powers.
“Ben gave me a really good feed,” said Brodzik. “I was able to put it in really easily.”
The Hatters (4-2, 2-1) desperately tried to find an opening, but each time the East (4-1, 3-0) defense was up to the occasion turning back several good shots. With Hatboro-Horsham pressed up to try to tie the game, East found the openings and landed two more jabs for the 8-5 win.
“It’s always a battle,” said Hatboro-Horsham coach Dave Sowers. “I love coaching these games. I love being a part of these games. Over the years we go back and forth. It’s like a heavyweight fight. They’re going to take their shots and we’re going to have to answer. They are two teams that are pouring their hearts out.”
“You have to respect Hatboro every year,” said East coach Bruce Garcia. “They played us well.”
Hatboro-Horsham was pumped up at the opening faceoff, which defenseman Dom DeFazio collected and sprinted to the goal where he rifled it past Harrison Holak.
But the Hatters soon cooled off as East reeled off three straight. East’s Chris Vetter drew a double team up the middle and dished off to Parker Self on the left flank. Self bounced a shot into the upper right corner to tie the game at one. In less than two minutes, Alex Fetterman and Warren Kuhn also hit the net to give the Patriots a 3-1 advantage.
Just when the Patriots thought they had Hatboro on the ropes, the Hatters rallied with three goals in just over a minute to go up 4-3 after one period.
The second and third periods were exercises in good defense. East scored twice in the second and Hatboro-Horsham tallied once in the third to make it a 5-5 game going into the final 12 minutes.
“We were a little rattled at the beginning of the game because it was a big conference game,” said Brodzik, “but in the second half we were able to get it together.”
After Brodzik’s goal gave the Patriots the lead for good in the final period, East defenseman Warren French picked up a Hatboro turnover and bolted to the offensive end where he found Fetterman to the left of the goal. Fetterman deked Vitale once and hit the upper left corner of the cage for a 7-5 lead.
Garcia’s strategy had paid off.
“We won the toss and wanted to go downhill in the fourth quarter,” said Garcia. “Playing uphill is not good. In the fourth quarter we put the game away, and I think that’s where the difference was.”
Meanwhile, the Hatters couldn’t catch a break. A Kyle Schwarz shot banged off the pipe and Holak came up huge on two late Eddie Coombs’ shots, the second of which came at point blank range.
“Our goalie stood on his head,” said Garcia. “He’s going to get the game ball.”
“Give that kid credit,” said Sowers. “He came up with a save on Eddie. He made the plays when he needed to.”
East finished off the Hatters with Conor McSherry’s goal with Vitale caught out of the net.
“The two goals at the end were us just trying to press to get the ball back,” said Sowers. “To me it was a 6-5 game.”
As well as East’s defense played (shutting the Hatters out for two periods), Sowers also complimented his defense.
Sophomore Dom DeFazio, Ryan Mullen and Tyler Gehlhaus all “played their hearts out.”
“For our long poles to hold an East team to six goals, they were playing well,” said Sowers. “We didn’t make the plays on the offensive end when we needed to. That was the difference in the game. They made the plays. We didn’t. We were well prepared. We knew what they were going to do.”
“They have really solid long poles,” admitted Garcia.
The win gives East a leg up in the Continental Conference. Sowers is looking forward to the rematch on May 4, when another conference title will most likely be on the line.
“We’ll get them again,” he said, “but we’ll take it one game at a time. We certainly can’t overlook anyone.”
SuburbanOneSports.com is a content sharing partner with Phillylacrosse.com