Staples pulled together in the second quarter, dominated the third and got the late goal to beat Newtown 5-4 Thursday in a tense game in Newtown between two strong boys lacrosse programs.
If not for the heroics of backup goalie Tommy Elliott, it could've been a different game entirely. Elliott came off the bench eight seconds into the second quarter and made save after save.
"Considering this is the first year Tommy's played goal, 14 saves, that was huge," Newtown coach Glenn Adams said. "We could've backed him up with a few more goals on offense."
The Nighthawks (11-4) got one goal in each quarter, but No. 7 Staples (10-4), shut out at halftime on Jon Rospenda's and Elliott's stops, scored four in the third.
Will Johnson's third goal won it with 2:25 left after Matt Meyers tied it for Newtown with 7:54 to go.
"Newtown played very, very tough," Staples coach Paul McNulty said. "I think they got inspired by their goalie getting hurt. Their second goalie did fine."
The teams combined to use five goalies. Only one, Staples backup Sean Driscoll, didn't face a shot, filling in for Cole Gendels at the end of the first quarter.
Rospenda was injured on a goal-mouth tie-up with Ross Goldberg after making a save to start the second. Elliott replaced him and made a few point-blank saves right off the hop.
Elliott took a Pete Blevins shot off the head with 19 seconds left in the third quarter. Attackman Brad Kretz took over in net, making a save on Johnson, before Elliott returned for the fourth.
"We were ready to play. We came out with a lot of intensity," Adams said. "We got some looks at the beginning, and their goalie (Gendels) made some saves."
Gendels had been hurt making a save, and he came out after Jared Pearson scored with 3:10 left in the first quarter. The rest of the night, Staples outshot Newtown 31-10, including 15-1 in their four-goal third quarter.
"They did such a good job against our offense," McNulty said. "We had to attack from different angles until at least we got those (five) goals."
Newtown tried to hold onto the ball, really value possessions, Adams said. The weather made that difficult: The first half was played through sporadic showers, including one big downpour for a couple of minutes in the second quarter.
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STAPLES 0 0 4 1--5
NEWTOWN 1 1 1 1--4
Records: Staples 10-4; Newtown 11-4
Scoring: S--Will Johnson 3g, Isaac Paparo 1g, Connor Chamberlain 1g, Michael Reale 1a, Eric Zurmuehle 1a, Jon Pacilo 1a; N--Ryan Sullivan 2g, 1a, Jared Pearson 1g, Matt Meyers 1g, Alec Beauchemin 1a; Goalies: S--Cole Gendels (5 saves), Sean Driscoll (0); N--Jon Rospenda (1), Tommy Elliott (14), Brad Kretz (1); Shots: S--32; N--16