Leading 8-5 at halftime over No. 1 Foothill after trailing 4-1 in the first quarter on Saturday at home, the No. 5 San Clemente Tritons had to feel good about their chances of getting some revenge for last year’s two routs at the hand of the Knights. But the Knights outscored the Tritons 4-1 in the third to tie 9-9 then traded goals until the final minute to pull off a thrilling 17-16 win.
Nick Matzek‘s 5 goals and 1 assist paired with Warren Case‘s 1 goal and 6 assists helped Foothill (7-1) escape San Clemente (5-2) with the hard-fought win. Matzek assisted sophomore attack Kevin Kodzis (2 goals, 2 assists) with just 1:26 to play to clinch the win as the high shot from in close just evaded Tritons sophomore goalie Austin Boyer‘s stick and clanged in off the crossbar.
Matzek and Ryan Falbo scored to start the fourth quarter and give Foothill an 11-9 lead, but San Clemente rallied as they did all day. Senior Austin Lickley (2 goals, 1 assist) rifled in an outside shot on an assist from Austin Streeter (1 goal, 5 assists) then senior Peyton Garrett (2 goals, 2 assists) ripped a shot on the run past Knights keeper Hank Lewis (4 saves) off a nice feed from Jack Renard (4 goals, 1 assist) on extra man to tie the game again at 11-11.
The teams then traded goals back and forth until late in the fourth, when Falbo scored his second and Matzek rifled a shot past Boyer off a great feed from dominating face off midfielder Austin Babb (winner of 26 of 36 face-offs). The Tritons tied the game at 16-16 with 1:44 to play as Collin Zines (5 goals, 1 assist) scored off a nifty feed from Torin Alm (2 goals, 2 assists). But Foothill proved to be one better than SC on this day, and Kodzis’ second goal in the last two minutes clinched the win.
Foothill got great performance from both Maranos as well–junior defenseman Matt Marano scored twice on impressive runs downfield and junior attack man Nate Marano had 2 goals, 2 assists). Other point getters for Foothill were Nathan Skeen (2 goals), Drew Boyd (1 goal) and Jake Haigh and Matt Harris each with an assist. Ryan Blank had 4 first-half saves.
For San Clemente, goalie Boyer faced 41 Foothill shots and made 6 saves. Senior defenseman Stone Sims and sophomore Caleb Bozarth each had 3 takeaways; Bozarth also had a team-high five ground balls and five clears to lead San Clemente.
–MaxLaxOC.com staff report
(NOTE: This story was edited to adjust for a correction in the stats and scoring. We apologize for the initial reporting errors).