CHATHAM, NJ - Cougar Field is quick becoming a place where boys lacrosse winning streaks come to die.
After halting Summit's seven-game winning streak in its previous game, Chatham followed by snapping Seton Hall Prep's seven-game run with an impressive 8-6 triumph on Thursday at Cougar Field.
Chatham (10-1), which boosted its own winning skein to eight games, is now the only team to have beaten both Summit and Seton Hall Prep this season.
"Our schedule is very good and we've been playing well," Chatham coach Tony Calandra said. "My biggest thing is not resting on our laurels of beating Westfield and Summit and continue to get better every day."
At this point in the season, the Cougars seem to have put it all together with faceoff dominance led by senior Will Hosbein, clutch goaltending by junior Ryan Ness, a rock-solid shutdown defense that can get out in transition, and a balanced attack engineered by junior Mac Bredahl.
Bredahl ended with two goals and three assists, setting up consecutive goals by Thomas Berger and Frank Anello in the third quarter when Chatham moved to a 6-4 advantage. Hosbein provided plenty of possession by winning 13 of 17 faceoffs and Ness came up with 10 saves, including five in the decisive third period.
Will Hosbein and Thomas Berger talk about Chatham's eighth straight win
"On offense we move the ball around, getting everyone touches,' Bredahl said. "Hose has been playing great. When he wins faceoffs, it's great not only for the offense, but with us having possession it gives the defense a rest."
Bredahl's pass for this Berger goal broke a 4-4 tie with 7:28 left in the third quarter
Less than a minute later, another pass from behind by Bredahl was finished by Frank Anello (see below) to make it 6-4 for the Cougars in the third period.
Ness had a big third quarter and may have turned the momentum with a remarkable save against Seton Hall Prep's Ryan Kemp.
"The kid was one-one-one with him on the crease and Ness just flung his stick in the air to make the save that gave us momentum," Bredahl said. "A big point for us to use for confidence going forward. Ness played out of his mind. Our entire defense did. Seton Hall is one of the best teams in the state offensively. The defense did their job and we did enough on the offensive end."
Chatham scored 1:08 into the fourth quarter when Bredahl got the ball to Connor Byrd (see below) for a shot from up top that made it 7-4.
Decker's second goal of the game with 7:34 showing in the fourth quarter boosted the Cougar lead to 8-4.
In the first quarter, Bredahl scored when he intercepted a clearing pass from the goalie and stuffed it back into an open net. His second goal tied it at 4-4 heading into the halftime break.
"We made some mistakes in the first half and didn't have the ball much in the second quarter," Calandra said. "We kind of clamped down on things in the second half, led by (Hosbein). We were getting the ball, possessing the ball and taking good shots."
Chatham travels to Massachusetts to play Lincoln-Sudbury Regional on Saturday.