NAPLES—Bonny Eagle hashed four goals back-to-back-to-back-to-back early in the third quarter at Lake Region on Friday evening, May 25, putting critical distance between themselves and the Lakers. Max Zygaldo tallied two in the stretch, and John Merrill and Chris Roberts tallied one apiece, propelling the Scots forward to a 15-9 W.
“I’m liking how we’re sharing the ball,” Bonny Eagle head coach Andrew Slefinger said. “We don’t have that go-to guy that, we need the ball on his stick; we don’t have that flashy player we’re relying on. I think the guys enjoy the fact that everyone has the potential to be that guy at any given time.”
Fatigue was among the major factors in deciding a game that started out tight. Lake Region features a strong lead 10, but not much in the way of manpower or experience to sub in for them.
“The kids came out fired-up, ready to play,” Lake Region head coach Josh Plowman said. “We had a gameplan in place, which I feel like we executed. Our guys, 10-on-10, first-string vs. first-string, we’re as good as anybody in the State, I think. As the game goes on, things obviously change. We have a pretty quick drop-off after our starters.”
The action unfolded – initially – in a fiery back-and-forth: Brennan Bass scored first for the Lakers, just about five minutes into the game; 79 seconds later, Griffin Madore answered for Bonny Eagle. Madore repeated himself 12 seconds after that, giving his boys a 2-1 advantage, but Lake Region won the following faceoff an immediately settled into a long attacking stretch. The Lakers eventually converted, Nate Bragdon-Clement doing the honors.
Dylan Cobbett put the Scots out front again with 2:45 remaining in the first, before Bragdon-Clement brought Lake Region even once more. Noah Neal then gave the home team a leg up, 4-3, only to see Bonny Eagler Alex Dyer balance the scoreboard early in the second.
Madore and Vinnie Brunie next notched, shunting the Scots to the first multi-goal lead of the evening, 6-4. Again the Lakers battled back, however. On defense, Paul Vigna forced a Bonny Eagle turnover, then carried up the left side of the field; Vigna fired ahead to Bragdon-Clement who dished across in front to Caleb Emery for a redirect goal and 6-5. Then, Lake Region Keeper Aidan Foster reeled in a Scots shot and cycled the ball forward to Bragdon-Clement in the midfield; Bragdon-Clement zoomed up the right side and shoveled over left to Vigna, who capitalized. 6-6.
Midway through the third quarter, the tide turned against Lake Region. The team appeared to slow down a bit. Plowman ultimately confirmed as much:
“We’re still battling a numbers issue,” he said. “We’re really low. We’ve got, like, 17 kids total that suited up today. We’re just not very deep, so as the game goes on, we have the same kids running up and down the field the whole, entire time – they tend to run out of gas.”
Slefinger noted as well that the Lakers looked to be getting fatigued in the downhill half. “With the numbers they had, we wanted to try to attack when they were tired,” he said.
Asked, however, if his boys were themselves doing anything different, Slefinger added: “Talking to them, we needed to clean up our fundamentals. We talk a lot about possession, trying to keep possession.”
Zygaldo struck with 10:48 to play in the third, then again with 6:48 remaining. Both goals came from the inside, the first on a nice, low sweeping shot and the second on a slick spin move. Merrill struck a couple minutes later, with Lake Region man-down; finally, Roberts struck roughly 30 seconds after that, punching one home out of a scramble at Foster’s feet.
Up 10-6, the Scots remained in control through to the end of the contest. Bonny Eagle continued to outpace the Lakers in the fourth, putting up five more to Lake Region’s three for the 15-9 result. Merrill scored the Scots’ 11th point, and Cobbett their last four. Vigna, Cam LePage and Emery kicked in the Lakers’ last tallies.
Slefinger applauded the opposition effort. “The times we did turn the ball over, they did a phenomenal job getting their shots. It was a 50/50, every time they shot the ball, whether or not we were going to be able to save it.”
Despite those tough odds, Bonny Eagle Keeper Cole Sullivan turned in numerous spectacular saves. “Cole had a fantastic game,” Slefinger said. “Didn’t think he was going to be able to go; he’s a little under-the-weather. So we had our backup plan, but he was able to stick it out. Being able to make 10, 12, 14 saves consistently the past couple games has really sparked our offense.”
“It’s really hard to single one guy out,” Plowman said, asked who played well for the Lakers. “Brennan Bass is kind of our utility guy – he does everything for us. He takes our faceoffs, he plays defense; if we need the ball, we put him on, sometimes, the best player on the other team, and we expect him to take it away. He clears the ball for us – he does everything. Even when he’s dead tired, he’s still working his butt off.
“At attack, we’ve got Caleb Emery and Nate Bragdon-Clement, who do a nice job for us. Ethan McMurray is a very good leader; he plays long-pole defense and midfield, so depending on the matchup, who we’re playing, we can move him around. He’s a really smart player who organizes everything for us.”
“Aiden Foster, who’s our freshman, stepped up two weeks ago. Had him play goalie before and he stepped into net and he’s done well. Colby Chaplin’s a kid we converted to midfield who was playing defense before. He had a few key plays where he picked off a ball, a few hustle plays – things that don’t really show up in the statbook, but really make a difference on the field.”
For his part, Slefinger lauded – beyond Sullivan – a couple of his other boys as well. “Dylan Cobbett played really well; he’s coming off a five-goal game against Marshwood on Wednesday. He had another three tonight, so he’s feeling it. Alex Dyer had three. Anthony Breton had three, Max Zygaldo had three.”
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Paul Vigna unwinds into a Lakers shot.
Nate Bragdon-Clement ducks around a Bonny Eagle opponent.
Laker Peter Vigna dashes upfield with the ball.
Parker Williams scoops up a ground ball for Bonny Eagle.
Laker Noah Neal carries, Scot Brandon Caron swooping in to thwart him.
Caleb Emery fires forward for Lake Region.
Wyatt Blanchette crashes forward, attacking for Bonny Eagle.
Laker Ethan McMurray plows into Scot Dylan Cobbett.
Laker Ethan McMurray hounds Bonny Eagler Griffin Madore.
Max Zygaldo scored multiple goals for the Scots in t heir win.
Anthony Breton defends ferociously for Bonny Eagle.
Colby Chaplin cuts toward the action for Lake Region.
Cole Sullivan logged a number of great saves for Bonny Eagle.