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Saturday's showdown at Yorktown's Charlie Murphy Field featured two of Section 1's best squads. The Huskers — winners of 35 sectional championships and six state titles — represented the old guard. Bronxville — coming off back-to-back runs to the NYS Class C semifinals — were the new kids on the block.
When push came to shove, it was tradition, desire and near-perfect execution that won out.
Yorktown (5-1) knocked upstart Bronxville (4-1) down a peg as it cruised to a lopsided 15-3 victory.
"We just wanted to come out here and make a statement," Yorktown junior middie Luke Palmadesso said. "We wanted to show we were the best in the section and show (Bronxville) what's up."
The Huskers, who led 3-1 after the first quarter and 5-2 at the half, outscored the Broncos 7-1 in the decisive third quarter.
"We had to come out fired up in the second half because we knew they were going to," said Palmadesso, who tallied a goal and an assist. "We just had to match their energy and excel from there."
Connor Vercruysse and Brian Prestreau (1A) powered Yorktown with four goals apiece. Nick Mariano (3G, 2A), Nick Bonitatibus (1G), D.J. Peters (1G), Tomas Rodriguez (1G) and Nick Del Bene (1A) rounded out the offensive production.
It was yet another scoring bonanza for the Huskers, who have racked up an eye-popping 37 goals in their past two games and are averaging a Section 1-best 13.83 goals per game.
"You really can't stop five different guys," Yorktown's Austin Fusco said of the potent and multi-faceted offense. "As a defenseman, I would know. It's very hard to stop that many guys on offense. When we are getting looks like that with the players we have, it's very hard to beat this team."
And if Yorktown is dominating faceoffs, too? Forget about it.
Palmadesso and Danny Manning combined to go 16-for-18 at the dot, giving the Huskers an overwhelming edge in possession. They also held a 46-21 shots on goal advantage.
"If you give a team that many extra possessions, you aren't going to win," Bronxville coach Tim Horgan said.
Reilly Walsh, Henry Grass and Matt Behrens led the Broncos with one goal apiece. Ted Forst added an assist and goalie Eric Pass stopped 10 shots.
Bronxville didn't shy away from the big stage and bright lights early on. Behrens opened the scoring with 5:49 left in the first quarter to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead. Yorktown, however, countered with four straight goals to make it 4-1 with 7:44 left in the second quarter. Grass stopped the bleeding at the 6:15 mark, scoring off an isolation dodge to make it a two-goal game. But Palmadesso answered back almost immediately, burying a shot after winning the ensuing faceoff.
"The guys were pumped up," Horgan said. "I don't think they were intimidated at all. They played well in the first half and kept it close, but Yorktown's a very good team. I think we spent six minutes in the third quarter in the penalty box. Between the faceoffs and spending half a quarter in the penalty box, we didn't have a shot."
While Yorktown's offense will likely steal most of the headlines, its defense turned in another stingy performance. The three goals scored were a season-low for Bronxville, which entered the night averaging 13.75 goals a game.
Close defensemen Trevor Koelsch, Jack Phelan and Austin Fusco dominated their matchups and were ground ball hogs. As a team, Yorktown won the ground ball battle 23-11. Goalie Austin Graham was also steady in net with 13 saves.
"Our defense was on point today," Mariano said. "They talked, communicated and just got every ball when it was on the ground."
Coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to upstate power Shenendehowa last weekend, Yorktown was looking to reestablish itself as a team to be reckoned with.
"(Losing last weekend) kind of motivated us as a team to come out and show everybody that that's not the kind of team we are," Fusco said. "We are the kind of team that comes out and plays focused and intense."
Bronxville 1 1 1 0 3
Yorktown 3 2 7 3 15
BX (5:49) Matt Behrens unassisted | 1-0 BX
YT (4:48) Connor Vercruysse unassisted | 1-1
YT (3:43) Brian Prestreau unassisted | 2-1 YT
YT (2:54) Nick Mariano unassisted | 3-1 YT
YT (7:44) Vercruysse from Prestreau | 4-1 YT
BX (6:15) Henry Grass unassisted | 4-2 YT
YT (6:10) Luke Palmadesso unassisted | 5-2 YT
YT (11:19) Prestreau from Palmadesso | 6-2 YT
YT (10:23) Vercruysse unassisted | 7-2 YT
YT (9:43) Tomas Rodriguez unassisted | 8-2 YT
YT (8:57) Mariano unassisted | 9-2 YT
YT (5:35) Vercruysse from Nick Del Bene | 10-2 YT
YT (3:03) Nick Bonitatibus from Mariano | 11-2 YT
BX (1:44) Reilly Walsh from Ted Forst | 11-3 YT
YT (1:00) Prestreau from Mariano | 12-2 YT
YT (11:20) Mariano unassisted | 13-2 YT
YT (8:00) Prestreau unassisted | 14-2 YT
YT (2:04) D.J. Peters unassisted | 15-2 YT
Bronxville: Reilly Walsh (1G); Henry Grass (1G); Matt Behrens (1G); Ted Forst (1A)
Yorktown: Connor Vercruysse (4G); Brian Prestreau (4G, 1A); Nick Mariano (3G, 2A); Nick Bonitatibus (1G); Luke Palmadesso (1G, 1A); D.J. Peters (1G); Tomas Rodriguez (1G); Nick Del Bene (1A)
Bronxville: Eric Pass (10 saves)
Yorktown: Austin Graham (13 saves)
Email Isaac Cass at Icass@cablevision.com | Follow him on Twitter @MSGV_Icass