All of Mattituck/Southold’s previous boys lacrosse games against Rocky Point may have been forgettable from the Tuckers’ perspective, but Saturday’s game is one they will surely remember for years to come.
Mattituck trailed for most of the non-league game, falling behind by two goals on four occasions. That only set up set up the dramatic finish.
Greg Hauser fired in the tying and game-winning goals — the latter, his third of the game, with 1 minute, 11 seconds left to play — for a 7-6 triumph by visiting Mattituck for its third win in as many games this season. It was Mattituck’s first ever win over Rocky Point, according to John Amato, who has faced the Eagles six times in his six years as the Tuckers’ coach.
“I said this [Mattituck] team could be the first one” to defeat Rocky Point, Amato said, “this could be the first time we ever do it and we did it in dramatic fashion.”
Mattituck made it a new game when Max Kruszeski scored off an assist by Dane Reda, tying the score at 5-5 with seven seconds left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Reda won a ball at midfield and lofted a pass to Matt Seifert, sending him in on a breakaway. Rocky Point goalie Tyler Kotarski made the save, but took a stick to his left shoulder moments later and went down. Kotarski walked off the field and was examined by a trainer.
A non-releasable three-minute penalty was assessed to Mattituck’s Ethan Schmidt. Before the penalty expired, Kotarski returned to goal and Teddy Accardi (three goals, one assist) converted a feed from Matthew Sweeney for a 6-5 Rocky Point lead with 7:58 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Amato said the fact that his man-down defense didn’t allow more than that “was huge.”
Kotarski made a point-blank stop on Willie Burns, but Mattituck equalized shortly after when Reda swung a pass to Hauser and he finished the play with 4:56 left.
Later, Hauser used a lefty dodge before launching in the decisive go-ahead goal for Mattituck’s first and only lead of the cold day.
“I was just hyped,” said Hauser, who already has eight goals to his credit this young season.
“I like to lean on our seniors for leadership and everything, and he just stepped up in a big way right there,” Amato said. “The moment wasn’t too big for him.”
Penalties were an issue for Mattituck (six penalties for 6:30), but two untimely penalties by Rocky Point (four for 3:00) late in the game really hurt the Eagles (0-3).
At the same time as Hauser’s final goal, Rocky Point’s Ethan Curreri was given a one-minute penalty for unnecessary roughness. Seven seconds later, Rocky Point’s Jack Meyers drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, costing him one minute and giving Mattituck a two-player advantage for 53 seconds.
Mattituck played keepaway the rest of the way. The Tuckers charged toward their goalie, Luke Wojtas (six saves), to celebrate when the game ended.
“That game was frustrating and scary,” said Reda, who had two goals and one assist. “We wanted to come out on top and thank God we did.”
Seifert, assisted by Schmidt, also had a goal for Mattituck.
Rocky Point received a goal and an assist each from Donald Woods and Sweeney as well as a goal by Kyle Bonesteel.
“I’m proud of [how] no matter how frustrating it got, we just kind of stayed positive,” Amato said. “You know you’re going to go through ups and downs and you can never get too low and you can never get too excited. You just got to stay even-keeled until the game is over, and I felt like we did that.”
Before heading to the warmth of the team bus, Hauser reflected on the value of the victory.
“We haven’t beat Rocky Point before,” he said. “The first ever, it definitely feels special. We’re going to go on this bus and have a good time.”
Photo caption: Mattituck/Southold’s Greg Hauser (three goals) dodges around Rocky Point’s Jack Meyers before taking a shot during the second quarter. (Credit: Bob Liepa)