NORTH SALEM, N.Y.— Newly confident after booking its first two victories of the season last week, North Salem didn’t do enough of the little things to contend with Arlington in a 15-8 home loss on April 17.
“We got outhustled today,” North Salem coach Matt Garrity said. “Our prior three games, we did all of the groundball work. Communication on defense was a little bit of a breakdown, but that’s something we’ll fix in the next few days and we’ll be right back at it.”
Flooding the net to start the match, the Admirals built a 7-2 lead early in the second quarter. But North Salem put up two consecutive scores each a minute apart by Shane Behler and Will O’Leary, staying in it while down 7-4 at halftime.
“When we moved our feet and moved the ball quickly, we always got the looks,” O’Leary said. “But when we were stagnant, it slowed us down.”
The Tigers’ possession and offensive pressure didn’t carry over into the second half, as Arlington began to run with its faceoff victories for quick scores before taking an 11-5 edge into the final quarter.
“That’s the biggest thing (communication),” said senior defenseman James Buzzetto, a captain. “We’ve been working on it all year. Our whole team came out and put up a fight today and if we can keep it going for a whole game we have a lot of potential to compete with a lot of teams. We have a lot of athleticism and we can compete. We just have to come out and show it.”
Showing its willpower in the fourth, North Salem cut the disadvantage to 13-8 with three minutes left. Jake Lanyi, Zach Prisciandaro and O’Leary all displayed their ability to net difficult shots.
“We are very lucky to have some great shooters on the team,” Garrity said. “Jake is one of them and Will O’Leary had a great game today. His confidence is starting to boost. Having those two players is fantastic because I can substitute both of them in at either midfield or attack.”
O’Leary cashed in on four of his six shots for goals. Lanyi scored two goals and had an assist while Behler also added an assist.
“Our offense has gotten better every game,” O’Leary said. “We are putting up more points because we are getting closer together and starting to know what each other does.”
Senior captain Kenny Martin dished out three assists. Goalie Alex Ely stopped 12 shots to keep the Admirals at bay.
The Tigers ground out their first win this year, 10-7, over host Edgemont April 12.
“We lost by one goal to them in sectionals last year,” Garrity said. “So bringing the mentality of, ‘Guys, we have some unfinished business to do,’ really struck home with the kids.”
Alex Diamond played a game to remember, netting five goals. O’Leary scored twice while Martin, Lanyi and Prisciandaro tallied a goal apiece. Martin once again distributed the ball for a team-leading four assists. O’Leary, Behler and Lanyi each notched two assists.
Just a day later, the pumped up Tigers knocked off visiting Hastings, 9-6. Lanyi paced the squad this time, sending through four goals and handing out two assists.
“As long as we create opportunities for ourselves, we’ll score,” Garrity said. “That’s the key to our offense. It could be anybody (who scores). We need to slow the ball down on offense, settle the ball down and move it.”
O’Leary scored two times again while Martin, Diamond and Prisciandaro each earned a goal. Both Behler and Martin had two assists. Joe Ely raked in seven groundballs and Buzzetto snagged six.
Alex Ely made a total of 10 saves, including five crucial ones during the fourth quarter.
North Salem (2-4) will welcome rival Westlake today and visit Croton-Harmon on Saturday, April 22.
“We are confident going into every game,” Buzzetto said. “We’ll go looking positive into every other game. That’s how we are going to have to be.”