CLASS C LONG ISLAND FINALS | WILDCATS 9, SEAHAWKS 7
Shoreham-Wading River coach Tom Rotanz sometimes has to remind himself not to be too hard on attackman Ryan Bray. As a freshman playing alongside an All-American in Tim Rotanz and senior in James Higgins, Bray came into the season asked to fill a role often reserved for players with much more experience.
“He’s extremely tough mentally,” Rotanz said. “He doesn’t have thin skin, but we try not to yell because he is young.”
With Tim Rotanz and Notre Dame-bound Trevor Brosco — coming off a seven-goal barrage in the county finals — under heavy pressure from the Cold Spring Harbor defense, Bray delivered a team-high three goals and with it, a Class C Long Island championship.
The Wildcats won 9-7 Saturday afternoon at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium, clinching the fourth L.I. crown in program history and first since 2007. It sets up a showdown with Bronxville Wednesday back at Hofstra with a trip to the state finals on the line.
Bray tallied his hat trick goal during a 4-0 Shoreham run that spanned the second quarter into the fourth. His third goal put Shoreham ahead 7-4 late in the third.
“We’re asking a freshman to play at this level where last year he was playing in front of 40 people in the middle school,” Rotanz said.
The Wildcats (16-3) held Cold Spring Harbor (14-4) scoreless for 22 minutes from the second into the fourth quarter. Seahawks sophomore Jordan Walter ended the drought with back-to-back goals just over a minute apart to slice Shoreham’s lead in half with 6:30 left in the game.
“We had to just keep our composure and just keep playing our game,” said senior defenseman Dylan Bates. “We knew goalie [Tyler Lutjen] was going to come up with some big stops and he did.”
Lutjen stopped 10 shots for Shoreham as the Wildcats’ zone defense forced the Seahawks prolific shooters to fire long shots. Shoreham limited Cold Spring Harbor to single-digit goals for the first time since April 14 and snapped the Seahawks’ 10-game win streak.
“We wanted to keep them outside and challenge our goalie,” said Bates, who quarterbacks the defense. “We knew he was going to be hot coming in here and we wanted to challenge him and that’s what he did. He came up big.”
The Wildcats never trailed in the game and took their biggest lead at 8-4 when senior Dylan Gorman scored on a man-up off Brosco’s second assist.
If not for the influence of coach Rotanz before the season, Gorman might have never been on the field.
Gorman, who played varsity lacrosse since his sophomore year, decided not to play lacrosse this spring and focus on preparing for football at Middlebury College for the fall.
Rotanz wrote Gorman a note, explaining how important he would be to the team this year.
“Then he goes, ‘all right,’ comes out and starts and has a great year,” Rotanz said.
Six different players scored for Shoreham and sophomore Troy Miller delivered one of the biggest goals. After Cold Spring Harbor had cut the lead down to two, Miller scooped up a ground ball in front of the cage and scored with 2:53 left to push the lead back to three. The play was set up by a shot from Gorman that was saved, but not controlled by goalkeeper Chris Roufanis. The ball deflected out perfectly to Miller, who was there to make the play.
“They’ve stepped up they’ve gotten some experience now under their belt,” Tim Rotanz said of the team’s role players. “Troy is playing great offense now, Gorman came back this year, which is great. He had a nice goal today and Bray has really stepped up too.”
Shoreham never trailed in the game and took the lead for good when Tim Rotanz scored his first goal late in the second quarter. The Wildcats took a 5-4 lead into halftime before Rotanz scored again midway through the third quarter to extend the lead to two for the first time since the opening quarter.
Rotanz played all over the field as he’s done all season.
“I look at him and I guess I’ve never asked him if he’s ever tired,” coach Rotanz said of his son. “So I’m assuming he probably was but I wasn’t going to ask him.”
The Wildcats got a strong all-around game from senior Chris Mahoney, who scored the Wildcats’ first goal after bringing the ball up on defense. Mahoney was a big factor in the clearing game all afternoon. It was his fifth goal of the season.
“I can’t talk about Chris Mahoney enough,” Bates said. “He should have been an All-American this year. He’s a great defenseman.”
– Shoreham was playing in its ninth Long Island championship game and improved to 4-5 all-time.
– It was the fourth meeting between the two schools in a Long Island championship game. Shoreham is 3-1 in those games. The Wildcats beat Cold Spring Harbor when they won their last title in 2007.
– Shoreham improved to 34-12 all-time in the playoffs.
– The Wildcats have never played Bronxville in a playoff game.