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Yorktown's Charlie Murphy Field has been a house of horrors for undefeated teams in 2013.
The Huskers dealt Chaminade (LI) its first loss of the season on Saturday and the trend continued against visiting Ridgefield (CT) on Tuesday. Yorktown (11-1) overcame an early 6-3 second-quarter deficit to knock off the Tigers, 11-8.
Coming into the matchups, both Ridgefield (9-1) and Chaminade (9-1) were ranked No. 1 in their respective state polls.
"We came out firing and we got the job done," Yorktown's Danny Manning said. "We knew we could do it. We didn't have any doubts. That was the task we wanted to complete."
Manning's task was harder than most. The St. Joseph-bound senior middie usually shares faceoff duties with teammate Luke Palmadesso, however, Palmadesso was sidelined after suffering an injury against Chaminade. As a result, Manning took every single faceoff. He went 15-for-23 at the dot overall and was 8-for-9 during the crucial second quarter to help Yorktown wrest control of the game.
"I was getting exhausted," Manning said. "Each faceoff is like a wrestling match, but I had to keep going in and keep trying to win them."
With Manning dominating the draw, Ridgefield's offensive opportunities were severely limited. The Tigers did most of their damage in transition and off unsettled situations.
"We needed possession," Tigers coach Roy Colsey said. "We didn't have any problem scoring, but we couldn't get the ball back. Danny Manning did a phenomenal job on faceoffs and every time that we scored they got the ball and every time they scored they got the ball. In the second half, we didn't touch the ball much."
Yorktown — which trailed 6-3 midway through the second quarter — closed out the half on a 4-0 run to grab a 7-6 lead at the break. The Huskers led 9-7 heading into the fourth, however, Brett Baker trimmed the deficit to 9-8 with 11:24 left in regulation. Connor Vercruysse and Nick Bonitatibus responded with back-to-back goals to seal the win for Yorktown.
Overall, UMass-bound senior attackman Nick Mariano paced the Huskers' potent offense with two goals and six assists. Middie Brian Prestreau added a team-high four goals and Vercruysse tallied three goals and two assists. Bonitatibus (1G, 1A) and Manning (1G) rounded out the offensive production. Goalie Austin Graham made 12 saves to spearhead Yorktown's defense, which limited Ridgefield to just two second-half goals.
The 11 goals against were a season-high for Ridgefield, which hadn't let up more than six in a single game. The Tigers entered the matchup relinquishing just 2.4 goals a game, however, their stingy zone defense was exposed by Yorktown's gallery of ace shooters. The Huskers worked the ball methodically around the perimeter to open the shooting lanes and rarely missed when it came time to fire.
"Our main goal was to move the ball around and stay spread against their zone and find the lanes," said Prestreau, a Stony Brook-bound senior who leads the team in goals with 41. "Anybody on our team can rip it at anytime. We work hard in practice doing a bunch of different shooting drills."
Such offensive fireworks have become commonplace for Yorktown, which is averaging a Section 1-best 13.92 goals a game.
"It's not really surprising," Manning said. "We could've put up even more (goals). In the beginning, we weren't really sticking our shots but we got the job done."
Ridgefield had scouted Yorktown's multi-faceted offense and knew what it was up against. According to Colsey, the Huskers' success was due to their ability to stick the 13 to 14-yard step down shots.
"To beat that zone you have to be able to hit those and (Yorktown) did a great job," Colsey said. "They shot the ball extremely well and did a nice job of being ready to shoot when they caught the ball. That's just good coaching and kids practicing a lot. You can see that 100 percent."
Middie Cal Dearth led the Tigers with one goal and three assists. Baker tallied a team-high three goals. Dylan Maher, Simon Mathias and Tim Cozens added one goal apiece. Goalie Conor Shannon stopped eight shots.
For Colsey, who starred at Yorktown in the early '90s, it was a bittersweet outcome.
"I was proud of the effort of our guys and I was proud of Yorktown," the coach said. "I root for (Yorktown) all year long except for one day. I liked the way they played and their confidence. I hope they can get that state title. That would be great."
GAME NOTES: In an ironic twist, Mariano passed Ridgefield coach Roy Colsey — a 1991 Yorktown graduate — on the Huskers' all-time points list. Mariano, who has amassed 225 points (150G, 75A) during his four-year career, is currently 10th on the list. Former teammate Conor Gately is ninth with 232 points … It marked the fifth meeting between the two teams since 2001. Yorktown owns a 4-1 edge in the series.
Ridgefield 3 3 1 1 8
Yorktown 2 5 2 2 11
YT (11:26) Connor Vercruysse from Nick Mariano | 1-0 YT
RI (10:59) Cal Dearth unassisted | 1-1
RI (1:13) Brett Baker unassisted | 2-1 RI
YT (0:38) Brian Prestreau from Mariano | 2-2
RI (0:07) Simon Mathias unassisted | 3-2 RI
YT (10:24) Prestreau from Mariano | 3-3
RI (9:05) Tim Cozens unassisted | 4-3 RI
RI (7:28) Ryan Dunn from Dearth | 5-3 RI
RI (5:54) Dylan Maher from Dearth | 6-3 RI
YT (5:08) Danny Manning from Vercruysse | 6-4 RI
YT (4:26) Prestreau from Mariano | 6-5 RI
YT (3:18) Mariano from Nick Bonitatibus | 6-6
YT (1:46) Mariano from Prestreau | 7-6 YT
RI (10:53) Baker from Dearth | 7-7
YT (9:29) Vercruysse from Mariano | 8-7 YT
YT (6:39) Prestreau from Vercruysse | 9-7 YT
RI (11:24) Baker unassisted | 9-8 YT
YT (10:36) Vercruysse from Mariano | 10-8 YT
YT (7:14) Bonitatibus from Mariano | 11-8 YT
Ridgefield: Cal Dearth (1G, 3A); Brett Baker (3G); Ryan Dunn (1G); Dylan Maher (1G); Simon Mathias (1G); Tim Cozens (1G)
Yorktown: Nick Mariano (2G, 6A); Brian Prestreau (4G, 1A); Connor Vercruysse (3G, 2A); Nick Bonitatibus (1G, 1A); Danny Manning (1G)
Ridgefield: Conor Shannon (8 saves)
Yorktown: Austin Graham (12 saves)
Email Isaac Cass at Icass@cablevision.com | Follow him on Twitter @MSGV_Icass