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Buttermore OT goal lifts @gvjagslax to dramatic come-from-behind win over @Stoga_Lax

Friday, 28th April 2017

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School  

By Matt Chandik, Posted 4/28/17

For four years, Garnet Valley has eyed 2017 as the season where everything would fall into place.

The Jaguars’ now-senior class is loaded with talent, undoubtedly the strongest senior class in the Central League and one of the best in the state. It’s the reason why Garnet Valley feels it can hang with anybody and finally make a run at that elusive first state championship. The Jaguars’ seniors have been in just about every situation you can think of with more than a handful of them being three or four-year contributors.

Garnet Valley’s Jake Buttermore

It’s a long way to go to West Chester East on June 10, but Garnet Valley’s 2017 class showed why there are such high expectations for the Jaguars this year by storming back from a five-goal deficit and getting a goal from Jake Buttermore in overtime to stun Conestoga, 12-11. The game was a showdown between two of last year’s three co-Central League champions and tightens this year’s race.

Conestoga (11-2 overall), Garnet Valley (9-3) and Springfield-Delco are now tied atop the Central League with 7-1 records.

“It’s our seniors,” said Buttermore, a Syracuse signee who slotted home three goals for Garnet Valley. “We weren’t going to lose this game. It’s our last time playing on (Conestoga’s Teamer Field) and the last chance to beat these guys for a Central League championship. We just got really pumped up and that’s what got us through.”

The overtime ending was merely the cherry on top of an incredible comeback. A mad scrum off the faceoff that included some 50-50 calls that went the Jaguars’ way gave Garnet Valley the first crack, but Jake D’Annunzio smashed a shot off the post. The ball went to the midline, where Conestoga gobbled it up, but Jason Rose (10 saves) made a superb save to shut down the Pioneers. Once the Jaguars brought the ball back downfield, it was time for Buttermore to put on a show.

“They put a shorty on me and Matt (Moore) just took his guy off and I just reacted,” Buttermore said. “My eyes get really big and I’m surprised a little bit when I get a shorty. I was like, ‘wow, that went in,’ and once I saw Matt and Denny (Nealon) run out to me, then I knew it was in.”

That’s not even the half of it, though. Garnet Valley wouldn’t have been in that position if not for one of the most insane comebacks in recent memory. Down 9-4 heading into the fourth quarter, the Jaguars couldn’t miss anymore.

Garnet Valley’s Jake D’Annunzio

D’Annunzio scored three times in the final frame, including the game-tying goal with 15 seconds left in regulation, as part of a five-goal night that tied a career high. The run also included goals from Matt Moore, Buttermore, Denny Nealon and Evan Trizonis. Every one of the Jaguars’ 12 goals and 17 points were recorded by a senior.

Even when Conestoga’s Drew Mullen gave the Pioneers temporary breathing room with two of his three goals in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars never backed down. Rose came up with a huge high save to end a Conestoga man-up with five minutes to go, and that stop gave Garnet Valley new life.

Given the chance to tie it up in the final minute, the Jaguars didn’t flinch. Moore (one goal, three assists) took his man behind the cage and casually tossed up a perfect pass to D’Annunzio, who sniped a 15-yarder home.

“I wasn’t expecting that pass at all,” said D’Annunzio, a Mount St. Mary’s signee. “He’s the best player I’ve ever played with and he finds the open man whether you’re covered or not covered. He does it all. He’s by far the best player out here.

“My head was definitely down after I hit the post, though. My teammates came over and comforted me. They took care of the rest. We were able to get the ball back and Buttermore did the rest.”

The Pioneers got three goals and two assists from Henry Berg and three goals and an assist from Tommy Sopko to go with Mullen’s hat trick, but couldn’t quite get that one extra insurance marker. It’s a loss that will sting for a little while.

Conestoga’s Drew Mullen

“They were just beating us at our own game,” Mullen said. “They were pushing it hard – what we like to do – and they just capitalized more. We didn’t get as many goals in the net, but they just did a better job. You’ve got to take good things from losses and I think we’re going to learn from this.”

Garnet Valley 4 0 0 7 1 – 12
Jake D’Annunzio 5g
Jake Buttermore 3g
Denny Nealon 2g, 1a
Matt Moore 1g, 3a
Evan Trizonis 1g, 1a
Jason Rose 10 saves

Conestoga 4 4 1 2 0 – 11
Tommy Sopko 3g, 1a
Henry Berg 3g, 2a
Drew Mullen 3g
Nick Braendel 1g
James Reilly 1g, 16-for-24 faceoffs
Hunter Gregory 1a
Scott MacMillan 8 saves

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