Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/1/11
The Bucks County team in the Junior Division of the Keystone State Games was less than a minute away from a long, unsatisfying ride home from Penn State.
Then Matt Vetter forced overtime, Garret Trucksess deposited the game-winner, and the boys from Bucks left Happy Valley with huge smiles and medals around their necks.
The Bucks team rebounded from a loss to Montgomery County in the semifinal to rally past Lehigh County 7-6 on Trucksess¹ overtime goal to win the bronze medal. Montgomery County won the gold, defeating Delaware County in two overtimes in the championship game.
The tournament was played on fields literally in the shadow of Penn State¹s Beaver Stadium.
Bucks defeated Chester, Nittany and York and tied Lehigh in pool play. Lehigh also went 3-0-1 in pool play, and Bucks won the group by virtue of having allowed one fewer goal than Lehigh.
The semifinals saw Montgomery defeat Bucks, 9-4, while Delaware knocked off Lehigh 3-2. This put Bucks and Lehigh in a rematch to see who would come away with a medal.
The third-place game was a back-and-forth contest that saw each team hold the lead before Lehigh snapped a 4-4 tie to take a 6-4 lead late in the game.
Jack Auteri scored to make it 6-5, setting up a wild final two minutes.
Lehigh would take three more shots after Auteri¹s goal, including one after a Bucks penalty that Sean McGovern saved. Lehigh then turned the ball over, giving Bucks a chance to even the score.
Jake Henze ran the ball up the sideline, and it went behind the goal to Grant Ament, who fed Vetter for a rocket that made it a 6-6 game with about 30 seconds left. Bucks won the face-off and after a timeout almost won it as time expired in regulation, but Lehigh¹s goalie made a great save on Henze¹s shot from up top.
This sent the teams into overtime. In fact, to that point, Bucks and Lehigh had played 100 minutes and were even at 10-10, including the 4-4 tie in pool play.
Chis Sabia controlled the face-off to Henze, who ran it down the middle and got it to Zach Drake, who fed it across the crease to an open Trucksess for the game-winner.
Bucks finished the tournament 4-1-1.
Ament led the team in points (14) and assists (8) and was second in goals (6) behind Tyler Hopkins, who scored seven goals and added four assists in his final games in Pennsylvania before moving to Texas.
Drake had three goals and seven assists, while Trucksess added five goals for the tournament. Vetter and Michael Major had four each. Travis Miller had three goals, including a huge one in the game against Lehigh.
Sabia won 18 of 25 face-offs. Auteri led the team with 26 ground balls, with three goals and four caused turnovers, tied for second on the team with Sabia, Anthony Bozzelli and Dustin Buchanan, behind Tim Markiewicz with six.
McGovern and Greg Price combined for a 4.50 goals-against and .557 save percentage.
The team was coached by Paul McGovern, Brian Vetter, Steve Henze and Brad Ament.
The Bucks County team:
Matt Eckles (injured, unable to play)