Heading into its game against Glastonbury, the Staples High boys lacrosse team was eager to put Tuesday's 13-2 loss to Ridgefield behind it, while exacting revenge from the Tomahawks at the same time.
The Wreckers came out aggressive, and once they settled their collective temper, they found a way to pull away.
Midfielder Joey Zelkowitz netted a hat trick as Staples survived a penalty-filled third quarter to grind out a 10-4 win over Glastonbury on Thursday afternoon at home.
"Staples played a great lacrosse game," Glastonbury coach Mark Landers said. "They beat us up and down the field. (Zelkowitz) and (attack Colin Bannon) are great players and they played like it today."
Will Johnson and Bannon each scored twice for Staples, which improved to 4-2.
After struggling with offensive execution early in the season, the Wreckers fired 39 shots at the Glastonbury cage and might have scored more if not for the solid play of goalie Jon Kaplan.
"We've been working on shooting every day and finding an offense that fits what we have," Staples coach Paul McNulty said. "We've been working on that all year really. (Kaplan) is a good goalie so we told our kids they are going to have to get good shots, and they did."
Tempers flared early in the third quarter with Staples holding a 6-2 lead. It began with face-off man Jared Levi taking 3:30 worth of penalties for checking a Tomahawks player up high multiple times. The incident led to pushing and shoving on both sides.
"(The players that took penalties) deserved it," McNulty said. "They both had penalties and were lucky they weren't kicked out of the game. That was our fault, emotions were high and fired up, but our motto before each game is `play hard and smart.'"
In total, the Wreckers took eight minutes of penalties in the third, but allowed only one goal. This was due to an outstanding defensive effort that put the clamps on the Glastonbury attackers. Quinn Mendelson, Lance Lonergan, Isaac Paparo, Garrett Jordan and Josh Willis all saw major minutes during the stretch, stifling the attack untill the Wreckers returned to even strength.
"I don't think there was anything nasty or mean-spirited on either side," Landers said. "I have great respect for (McNulty) and his program."
The Wreckers lost to the Tomahawks a year ago, dropping a 10-8, triple-overtime decision. The L state quarterfinalists from 2012 pulled to within 6-3 midway through the third quarter but never got closer. Staples scored three straight to make it 9-3 heading into the final frame.
"We definitely wanted to get revenge, you never want to play three overtimes and lose, so we definitely wanted to win today," Zelkowitz said. "Things got chippy in the third quarter, but sometimes after halftime teams come out fired up and that can happen. We just had to battle through it."
Things will likely get tougher for the Wreckers, who face New Canaan and Darien in their next two games. The Wreckers will work on refining their all-around abilities heading into those contests.
"A good defense and an offense that can control the ball -- that's what every team's goal is," McNulty said. "That's always our goal and that's what we accomplished today."
Ryan Lacey is a freelance writer
STAPLES 10, GLASTONBURY 4
GLASTONBURY 1 1 1 1 -- 4
STAPLES 3 2 4 1 -- 10
Records: Glastonbury 1-4, Staples 4-2.
Scoring: G -- Alex Stomberg (1g); Drew Babiak (2a); Zack Zavalick (1g); Andrew Cendana (2g). S -- Joey Zelkowitz (3g); Jared Levi (1g); Will Johnson (2g); Quinn Mendelson (1g); Jon Pacilio (1g); Colin Bannon (2g, 1a). Goalies: G -- Jon Kaplan (15 saves); Jack Janssen (3 saves). S -- Cole Gendels (12 saves).