Newport Harbor and Los Al faced off at Estancia High School with playoff seedings and the Sunset League championship on the line. In a very fast paced game that could have gone either way Dane Flinn took advantage of an unsettled situation, drove hard from behind the goal, got topside and put the game winner home in OT. The game had it all. Several lead changes, outstanding clutch goaltending and some very well timed hitting on ground balls.
For Newport Harbor, the first quarter was the Kyle Duffy and Cole Brockhoff show. They each had two goals while Chandler Pearce had two assists to give the Sailors a 4-3 lead at the end of Q1. Los Al goals were scored by Bronson Ban, Joey Weinman and Matt Fanelli. Ban was outstanding on faceoffs all night, winning several out in front to ignite fast breaks, and was the catalyst for a three-goal Los Al flurry that opened the second quarter.
Ban won the opening faceoff out front and took off on a fast break that ended with Weinman finishing low and away 13 seconds into the quarter. Matt Fanelli was next for the Griffs on a nasty step down rip from eight yards. Eight seconds later it was Ban again winning it out front for another fast break and Weinman finish, and just like that the Griffs held a 6-4 lead. Newport answered back on a deflected pass that found the net and a topside goal by Flinn to make it 6-6. Los Al was not done though and scored two goals in the final minute. One off the ride, and one off a face off with nine seconds to go to make the score 8-6 Los Al at the half.
The fast-paced back and forth action continued into the second half. Newport Harbor opened the third quarter with two goals from Duffy and one from Flinn to grab a 9-8 lead. Once again Los Al scored the final two goals of the quarter. Fanelli got topside and fired lefty topshelf to make it 9-9, and then Andy Barnett scored the final goal of the quarter to make it 10-9 Griffs.
Ban extend the Los Al lead to 11-9 when he took the fourth quarter faceoff to 10 yard and fired a bullet into the net. Patrick Lynch answered back for Harbor putting back a rebound for a score. At that point, outstanding goalie play took over and slowed down the scoring. Both goalies were on fire making a number of big stops, and it was not until 40 seconds were left in regulation that Duffy tied the game with an assist from Flinn. Harbor continued to pressure after the faceoff and would have ended the game in regulation were it not for a fantastic Tommy Leone save with 12 seconds left in regulation. Leone stuffed an unattended shooter on his doorstep to force the overtime.
In OT in was Flinn again for harbor getting top side and sticking a wrap around shot just inside the pipe. Final Harbor 12 Los Al 11.
Devin Arkison was a 3X All-American at Hobart College. He is also a member of the NJ Lacrosse Hall of Fame. He works privately with all levels of defensive players that want to improve. His most recent commits are to Notre Dame, Denver and St Joes. he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org