Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Bray scored two goals with four assists Saturday against Mount Sinai. (Credit: Bill Landon)
WILDCATS 17, MUSTANGS 6
Five losses by six goals. Total.
A season of change for Shoreham-Wading River, from a brand-new coaching staff, to the departure of the program’s greatest player, has been one mired in frustration. And as the season nears the end, the two-time defending Long Island champions suddenly find themselves in the unusual position of simply fighting for their playoff lives. The five excruciating losses — four by one goal, one by two — left the Wildcats in the unfamiliar position.
“We all kind of got together and were like, we got to start winning now,” said senior Anthony Visintin. “That was our mentality coming in [Saturday]. Getting our season back and starting to win now.”
The Wildcats, their backs firmly against the wall, took the first step toward getting their season back. In front of a big crowd at Shoreham-Wading River High School, on an emotional day that featured the Lax-Out Cancer event, the Wildcats put together one of their best efforts of the season in a blowout win over Mount Sinai, 17-6.
The teams came into the game separated by just .5 power points, which meant the loser’s playoff hopes were going to seriously dim.
Now the Wildcats will go into their biggest game of the season Tuesday against Miller Place, the team atop the Division II standings, with a newfound confidence.
“This is probably the best game we’ve played so far this season,” Visintin said.
The Wildcats struck early and often. Their offense featured a balanced attack with crisp ball movement allowing multiple players to get in the flow.
Senior Troy Miller dished out 4 assists to go with 3 goals. Visintin added 5 assists with 3 goals. Seven different players scored goals for Shoreham.
“There’s a lot of pressure and a lot of attention on these kids with everything that happened here over the past six to eight months,” said Shoreham coach Justin Arini.
With the added pressure of Saturday’s game being a Lax-Out Cancer event, the Wildcats managed a pristine focus for the all-important victory. After falling behind 2-1, the Wildcats scored the next 12 goals and held Mount Sinai scoreless for just under 25 minutes until Nick Cavalieri scored with 5:57 left in the third quarter.
The 17 goals scored was the most for Shoreham since the season opener, an 18-3 win over Mattituck.
The Wildcats (5-6, 4-5 Division II) went ahead by 12 in the final seconds of the third quarter to start running time on the clock.
Senior Michael Loscalzo was dominant on face-offs for Shoreham and he put together one of his best games of the season.
“Today was a good day for Mike,” Arini said.
So, too, for the Wildcats.