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LILJ Boys High School Winter League Recap: Week 4

The playoffs have begun and the question remains who is going to be the team that takes home the winter league championship?! We’ve seen some great regular season games and the first week of the playoffs did not disappoint. We had two games decided by three goals or less with one of them being decided by a single goal. The stars came to play so let’s analyze how each first round matchup went down!

Hills vs. St. Anthony’s 

The first game of the afternoon saw St. Anthony’s play a complete game. They were winning the majority of the face-offs, executing offensively, and playing great team defense to come away with the win. The Friars quickly jumped out in front, getting early goals from Mike Leo and Jack Speidell. Matthew Gilbert fired a stinger to give St. Anthony’s a 3-0 lead and Speidell scored his second goal of the game to put the Friars up 4-0 in a blink. The defense by St. Anthony’s shutout Hills in the first half, and went into halftime with a 9-0 lead. Will Snyder was the first half goalie for Friars and recorded three saves.

The second half was much more competitive for Hills. The first half deficit was too much for them to overcome, but they limited the Friars to just five goals in the second half and scored one by Anthony Rao. The final score was a 14-1 win for the Friars who are advancing to the semi finals. Jack Speidell was the Epoch Player of the Game with four goals and one assist. Despite the loss for Hills, goalie Jacob Shapiro notched 10 saves against one of the top offenses on the Island.

St. John the Baptist vs. Bay Shore

Bay Shore entered the playoffs as the number one seed, and took on SJB in their first playoff game. Their first playoff game got off to a good start. Despite a slow beginning offensively, the team defense was right where it needed to be in the first half. With less than nine minutes remaining in the half, Bay Shore held a 2-1 lead after getting goals from John Houlihan and Will Danowski. SJB’s lone goal came from the stick of Morgan McIntee. The offense for Bay Shore began to heat up as the first half came to a close. They ended the half outscoring SJB 5-1 to take a 7-2 lead into halftime, but SJB certainly hung tough in the first half.

The defense from Bay Shore continued to show why it’s one of the best in the winter league. They held SJB scoreless and managed to score six goals to pull away in the second half. It was a collective effort on the offensive end. Will Danowski, Pete Urso, and Nate Nagengast helped them score their largest number of goals in the winter league and take this game by a score of 13-2. Will Danowski was named the Epoch Player of the Game, finishing with a game-high four goals. Bay Shore also got four ground balls from Chris Butler and Pete Urso.

Ward Melville 1 vs. Smithtown East

This battle between the Patriots and the defending champion Bulls was tightly contested the entire way and went right down to the wire. In the first half Smithtown East held a slight edge as they jumped out to an early 3-0 lead getting goals from Joe Hobot, Owen Carroll, and Marcus Wertheim. After the Bulls went up 7-3  in the first half, the Patriots got a late goal from Hunter Morgan to go into the half trailing 7-4. Smithtown East had a well balanced offensive attack, but Ward Melville remained within striking distance.

In the second half it was the Patriots who came out hot, scoring two straight goals by Kevin Dolan and Tyler Ruffini to cut the deficit to one. Smithtown East held a one goal lead with eight minutes remaining, when Nick Bruckner launched a rocket that rattled the cage to tie the game at nine, overcoming a four goal deficit. Moments later it was Smithtown East who answered back, with Marcus Wertheim backing down his man and scoring left handed to give them a 10-9 lead. The goal by Wertheim made this week’s GLE top 10 plays. Once again Ward Melville had an answer as Ethan Buscaglia tied the game at 10 with a goal in the upper right corner. The game was up for grabs and with less than three minutes remaining Smithtown East responded with the go-ahead goal from Owen Carroll who was assisted by Ryan Rooney. Ward Melville needed one more answer to try to force overtime, but were unable to come up with the tying goal, and Smithtown East prevailed 11-10. Marcus Werthheim was the Epoch Player of the Game from his four goal performance.

Red & Black vs. Ward Melville 2 

The final game of the day featured Red & Black who is the last undefeated team remaining, against Ward Melville’s young guns. Both teams played great defensively with neither team getting many shots on goal in the first half. It was just a 2-2 game with six minutes remaining in the first half, when Jake Spallina gave Red & Black a 3-2 lead with one of his three goals in the game. Ward Melville answered back to tie the game with a goal by Brody Morgan. The two teams went into halftime knotted at three.

In the second half Red & Black regained the lead with another goal by Jake Spallina who was assisted by Cole Marsala. The Patriots answered back to tie the game at four with 12 minutes remaining, but Red & Black went on to outscore them 3-0 the rest of the game. James Carretta came top side and scored to begin the run, and scored his second of the game at the eight minute mark to put them up two. Jake Spallina stung one into the upper right corner to go up by three and seal the game with a 7-4 win. James Carretta and Jake Spallina were the two Epoch Players of the Game for Red & Black who remain undefeated on the season, and advance to the semi-finals.


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