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When Yorktown is winning faceoffs and sticking its shots, there aren't many teams around the Tri-State that can keep up.
Darien found out the hard way on Saturday.
The Huskers, who fell into an early 3-0 hole, rattled off 11 straight goals en route to a lopsided 11-5 win over the host Blue Wave in the 5th annual Tom Lener Memorial Cup.
"Emotionally, the team was hyped and the sideline was awesome," senior defenseman Trevor Koelsch said. "Emotions were high and intensity was high and that's what helped us there."
Nick Mariano led Yorktown (7-1) with a game-high three goals and an assist. Brian Prestreau (2A), Connor Vercruysse and Danny Manning (2A) added two goals apiece. Nick Bonitatibus (1G, 2A), Luke Palmadesso (2A) and Billy Strassman (1G) rounded out the offensive production.
Palmadesso and Manning were dominant at the dot, combining to win 16-of-20 faceoffs. The Huskers scored directly off the draw twice.
"Winning the faceoff 'X' is huge in getting those extra possessions," Koelsch said.
Overall, the game eerily reminiscent to Yorktown's 15-3 win over Bronxville last Saturday, which saw the Huskers transform a three-goal game at the half into a laugher down the stretch.
Against Darien, the scoring barrage just started a lot earlier. Manning buried the first of 11 straight goals with 10:03 left in the second quarter, finishing a feed from Bonitatibus on the doorstep to cut the Blue Wave's lead to 3-1. Vercruysse connected with a rip at 6:48 and Mariano followed with back-to-back corner-stinging lasers. Prestreau capped the first-half scoring at 2:38 to give the Huskers a 5-3 heading into the break.
"We weren't moving our feet very well in the first quarter." Yorktown coach Dave Marr said. "I think once the second quarter came around we started moving more and moving the ball and making the goalie move a little bit. He's a very good goalie and we were settling a bit in the first quarter. We picked up the intensity a little bit."
And it carried over into the second half. The Huskers outscored Darien 4-0 in the third quarter to extend their lead to 9-3 heading into the fourth. Prestreau, Strassman, Vercruysse and Bonitatibus notched a goal apiece during the stretch.
Needless to say, Yorktown's offensive blitzkrieg left a young Darien squad dazed and confused.
"We got caught on defense a lot," said Blue Wave goalie Phil Huffard, who was a bright spot with 15 saves. "(Yorktown's) faceoff guy had an outstanding game and it gave them the ball back almost every time after they scored, which is obviously something that is hard to deal with. We got a little bit tired there and might have lost focus for a second or two and that's all it takes for them to score 11 straight goals."
Kyle Cornell paced Darien with a team-high two goals. Harry Gillespie (1G), James Lyons (1G), Kevin Seiler (1G), Will Hamernick (1A), Connor Waldron (1A) and Peter Lindley (1A) also contributed.
Cornell's goals bookended Yorktown's torrid 11-goal run. He scored with 2:37 left in regulation to snap a scoreless drought that had lasted 37 minutes and 55 seconds.
The Huskers' close defense unit of Koelsch, Austin Fusco and Jack Phelan were stifling. Long-stick middie Tomas Rodriguez was omnipresent between the lines and goalie Austin Graham was razor sharp with 13 saves.
Koelsch, however, stood above the rest. The Hopkins-bound captain held Lindley — Darien's leading scorer — to a single assist. Coming into the game, the UMass-bound lefty sniper had popped off for five-plus goals on three different occasions.
"I went out there with the mind state of just trying to be physical with (Lindley)," said Koelsch, who added that he also knew Lindley greatly favored his left hand. "We had matchups and scouting reports before the game and coaches did a great job of telling me what I had to do and giving me information on him."
A starter since his freshman year, Koelsch has been a mainstay on Yorktown's defense the past four years. His blue-collar and straightforward approach to the game won't make for great YouTube clips, however, the Huskers value it above anything else.
"He's not a flashy kid," Marr said. "He's not the kind of guy where you are going be like, 'Wow, he played awesome.' But if you know lacrosse he's an extremely good player."
And Yorktown's looked like an extremely good team this season, too. The Huskers' lone defeat came on the road in overtime against Section 2's Shenendehowa. They have obliterated the competition since the loss, outscoring Hen Hud, Bronxville, White Plains and Darien by a combined total of 63-13.
"That was a real reality check for us," Koelsch said of their only loss. "We looked at ourselves and were able to see where we wanted to be at the end of the season and how to accomplish our goals. We knew we had to step it up."
Yorktown 0 5 4 2 11
Darien 2 1 0 2 5
DA (10:42) Kevin Seiler unassisted | 1-0 DA
DA (2:30) James Lyons from Will Hamernick | 2-0 DA
DA (10:32) Kyle Cornell from Connor Waldron | 3-0 DA
YT (10:03) Danny Manning from Nick Bonitatibus | 3-1 DA
YT (6:48) Connor Vercruysse from Bonitatibus | 3-2 DA
YT (4:18) Nick Mariano from Brian Prestreau | 3-3
YT (2:47) Mariano from Manning | 4-3 YT
YT (2:38) Prestreau from Palmadesso | 5-3 YT
YT (7:22) Prestreau unassisted | 6-3 YT
YT (4:41) Billy Strassman unassisted | 7-3 YT
YT (4:08) Vercruysse from Prestreau | 8-3 YT
YT (1:43) Bonitatibus from Mariano | 9-3 YT
YT (11:47) Mariano from Manning | 10-3 YT
YT (11:40) Manning unassisted | 11-3 YT
DA (2:37) Kyle Cornell unassisted | 11-4 YT
DA (0:18) Harry Gillespie from Peter Lindley | 11-5 YT *
* Indicates manup goal
Yorktown: Nick Mariano (3G, 1A); Brian Prestreau (2G, 2A); Danny Manning (2G, 2A); Nick Bonitatibus (1G, 2A); Connor Vercruysse (2G); Luke Palmadesso (2A); Billy Strassman (1G)
Darien: Kyle Cornell (2G); Harry Gillespie (1G); James Lyons (1G); Kevin Seiler (1G); Will Hamernick (1A); Connor Waldron (1A); Peter Lindley (1A)
Yorktown: Austin Graham (13 saves)
Darien: Phil Huffard (15 saves)
Email Isaac Cass at Icass@cablevision.com | Follow him on Twitter @MSGV_Icass