Apr 24, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
True, the spotlight would fall on senior Kevin Lux after the Fayeteville-Manlius boys senior forward netted a career-high 10 goals in his team’s 13-4 victory over Liverpool on Tuesday night. But the game was also a reflection of everything the undefeated, state Class A no. 4-ranked Hornets are doing right this spring.
From dominating in the face-off circle to intense, man-to-man defense, to an attack that finally solved the riddle of the Warriors’ zone defense, F-M had it all clicking, especially during a 7-1 outburst late in the second quarter where Lux scored six times to break the game open.
As F-M head coach Chris Kenneally told his team after the game, the reason why Lux had all those chances was because the rest of the team played at a high level.
The Hornets had motivation enough because of what had taken place the last two years. Liverpool had won every match-up with F-M, including a pair of one-sided routs in the 2011 and 2012 Section III Class A semifinals.
Then came news on Monday than 2010 graduate Brendan Englert, a junior at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., was injured early that morning in a serious automobile accident, eventually passing away from those injuries on Thursday. Several F-M players attended a prayer service for him the night before this game.
In Englert’s honor, all of the F-M players wore a red piece of tape on their helmets with the initials B.E. on them, and F-M students in the stands also wore red, the primary color of Catholic University’s sports teams.
They saw F-M take the lead early in the first quarter when Lux and Luke Krizman score 13 seconds apart, but that was the only offense for either team in the period.
Again, the Hornets found itself unable to find consistent looks against Liverpool’s trademark zone. On the other hand, the Warriors were shut down as Josh Pulver, Jake Pulver, Ben Jeffery and the rest of F-M’s back line kept pressuring Liverpool into mistakes and expertly cleared the ball out of their own end.
Yet it was one shot that F-M couldn’t stop that triggered the game’s decisive stretch. At the 4:17 mark of the second quarter, Liverpool’s Kendall Keahey cut through the defenders and beat Hornets goalie Brian Bedell scored to cut F-M’s lead to 2-1.
Less than a minute later, Lux answered, the first of three goals in a span of 1:05 that included Lux’s third tally and a goal from Kroy Arnold that made it 5-1 and forced Liverpool to use a time-out.
But that did nothing to stop the Hornets. Dan Cahill and Kroy Arnold kept winning face-offs, and F-M kept attacking, and Lux kept converting, four times in a row, and it did not let up even when the Warriors’ Peter Flood scored for his side.
By the time things had settled down, F-M had poured in seven goals in less than five minutes, and Lux had six of those goals. He said that the key to the whole surge was finding little spots to push through the zone, and then take bounce shots to get it past Liverpool goalie Dominick Madonna, who finished with 14 saves.
“We worked the zone real well and found gaps that we could exploit,” he said.
Kenneally said that the key for Lux was not to shoot too hard, but to trust that he could get those bounce shots into the net, something that didn’t happen in past match-ups with Liverpool.
“Kevin has a great understanding of the game,” he said.
With a 9-2 lead going to the second half, the only suspense involved the length to which Lux could add to his seven-goal total. He got an eighth tally in the third quarter and, in the final period, tacked on two more to get him to double digits.
Even with this emotional and satisfying win, F-M could not relax, for it faces tough back-to-back weekend road games at Auburn on Friday and Skaneateles on Saturday.