When it rained in San Juan Capistrano on Saturday it poured Tartan goals. The rains held off for a good part of the game and La Costa Canyon held off St. Margaret’s for a good part of the game, but almost simultaneously the skies opened and so did the Tartans’ offense. The Tartans ended the game with an 8-1 run to secure a 11-6 win in their final game of 2015.
Making the victory even a little sweeter for the Tartans was the leadership and fortitude that their five seniors showed in their final regular season game. Unsung hero Nick Iavarone (Whittier; 6 groundballs), in addition to his tenacious d, was a force on faceoffs picking up key groundballs. Ryan Harnisch (Denver) gave his team possession 16 times in 9 opportunities. Fernando Delgado (Villanova) had six groundballs. Defenseman John Connelly (USC) put the icing on the cake when he launched a 20 yard missile into an empty net for the final goal of the game. And Paddy Fallon (Skidmore; 2 goals) catalyzed the Tartans when he opened their scoring, and gave the LCC defenders fits all game long.
Typical of many of the big games that are being played as the season winds down, this one started out (but did not end) as a back and forth affair. The first quarter belong to the Mavericks who rode goals by Jake McLean and Connor Rafferty (assisted by MacLean) to a 2-0 lead.
The Tartans started to heat up in the second quarter and were energized by Fallon’s goal (assisted by Kevin Cox), which was followed in quick succession by goals from Cox and Nick Shanks (assist Sam Harnisch). With Ryan Harnisch and friends making it difficult for the Mavericks to get possession and the Tartans’ defense shutting them down when they did, St. Margaret’s carried a 3-2 lead into halftime.
The second half began much like the first with LCC controlling the tempo. Dustin Laubacher tied the game about two minutes into the quarter with an assist from Jason Mummau. About a minute later McLean hit a bouncer from the crease, which was followed by a Mummau goal to give the Mavericks a 5-3 lead midway through the third period.
The turning point in the game came shortly after Mummau’s goal. Cox crashed crease to bring the Tartans to within one and drew the penalty. Sam Harnisch scored on the EMO. About a minute later Cox scored unassisted, and just like that the Tartans were in the midst of a game-closing 8-1 run that would put the game away. McLean temporarily interrupted the run with a goal that left the game tied 6-6 with twelve minutes to play. But that would be all she wrote for the Mavericks.
The fourth quarter was dominated by the Tartans. Cox made it 7-6 with an assist from Shanks almost immediately. Fallon scored 30 seconds later to double the lead. Nick Kuljis made it 9-6 with about six minutes to play. Then about two minutes later Nick Shanks ripped a bullet top shelf to make it 10-6. Connelly’s Senior Moment into the empty net completed the tally at 11-6. And now nobody wants the Tartans on their side of the bracket.
Ben Fredericks (Hartford) had 12 saves for the Mavericks. Payton Fales who may be the most under-rated goalie in the County had 11 stops.