As a No. 2 seed in the playoffs, a team might hope for a less than grueling first-round game.
After finishing 14-2 overall in the regular season, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats’ reward for the No. 2 seed was a first-round matchup with none other than Sayville, a team that has always given Shoreham competitive games. In 2009 the Golden Flashes eliminated the Wildcats from the playoffs on their home field.
Shoreham wasn’t about to let it happen again.
The Wildcats prevailed 9-8 — if that sounds familiar, it is – to advance to the semifinals of the Class B playoffs Wednesday at home against Eastport-South Manor.
“It was sweet,” said Shoreham coach Tom Rotanz. “We were definitely fired up for that.”
Four of the last five games between Shoreham and Sayville have ended 9-8. The Wildcats won both games this year by that score and the Golden Flashes won twice in 2009 by a 9-8 final. Before their two wins this year the Wildcats had dropped three straight to Sayville by a total of five goals.
Shoreham never trailed against Sayville but could never fully pull away, very similar to the team’s regular season game. The Wildcats had an early 3-0 lead and led 4-3 after the first quarter.
Tom Rotanz Jr. scored three goals to lead another balanced offensive attack for Shoreham. The Wildcats got a big game from senior Mike Malave, who was playing in only his second game after coming back from an injury that cost him five games down the stretch. Malave scored two goals with an assist and won 18 of 28 face-offs.
Rotanz said Malave got hit with an elbow during the Comsewogue game April 30 and suffered a concussion. With Trevor Brosco, the team’s regular face-off player, already down with a hamstring tear, the Wildcats were down to their third face-off player.
Having Malave back in the lineup helps the Wildcats in a lot of areas.
“He’s a good shooter and he really makes our offense work better,” Rotanz said.
The status for Brosco doesn’t look very promising. He suffered the injury in the regular season against Sayville and tried to play against Comsewogue, but couldn’t go very long.
“They’ve been doing everything possible with rehab and all the treatment to get him healthy again,” Rotanz said.
Brosco is unlikely to play Wednesday and would still be iffy for the county championship game June 1 if the Wildcats got that far. Even if he did play, it would be a limited role, Rotanz said.
A healthy Brosco would undoubtedly bolster the Wildcats across the field, but they’ve still shown they’re deep enough to win when he’s not there.
Against Sayville Connor Drost scored two goals, Tim Rotanz scored one with three assists and Kris Miller had one goal. Paul Curran had a pair of assists.
The Wildcats beat Eastport 15-8 in the regular season, a score bolstered by a six-goal fourth quarter.
“We told [the players] yesterday we have six games left,” Rotanz said. “But I said if we don’t play our A game, it’ll be our last. Right now the next game is Eastport and they’re very good.”