SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD — As the wind grew exponentially stronger as the late afternoon went on at Wexler Field, Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s early lead and momentum began to fade.
Though the home-opening Raiders once seemed to control the pace and led, 4-2, at one point in the third quarter, Millburn mounted a ferocious second half rally to force overtime. The Millers’ Jack Williams then netted an equally stunning goal with two seconds remaining in the added time to hand the Raiders a souring 6-5 loss Wednesday afternoon.
Scotch Plains-Fanwood falls to 1-1 on the season with the loss, which came at the hands of the same Millburn team that they commandingly defeated, 11-3, just a year ago.
Anthony Porter scored two goals — including the equalizer which forced overtime — and added an assist to lead Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s balanced offensive attack. Noah Costanzo also netted a pair of goals for the Raiders, both of which came in a two-minute span, while Alex Oslislo (2) and Aiden Guma combined for three assists.
Raiders goalie Tom Bruckman came up with seven saves.
After playing to a stalemate for nearly a complete four minute overtime, Millburn came storming down field in transition as the final seconds were ticking away. The ball eventually found its way to Williams, and with a mere two seconds separating both teams from a second OT, the senior flung a shot and hit net to end the contest.
While overtime was a struggle for the Raiders, just reaching that point was the fruit of clutch play from one of their most potent scorers.
With the Raiders trailing for the first time all afternoon and just over eight minutes left to play, Anthony Porter whizzed a laser past Millburn goalie Jack Gruchacz and evened up the score at five apiece.
That goal by Porter — his second of the game and third of the season — ultimately forced the overtime, which is a four minute period that the Raiders will likely want to forget.
Porter’s goal was the Raiders’ answer to Millburn’s 3-0 run to end the third quarter. Tanner Nuggent scored twice and Spencer Brown, who assisted on both of Nugent’s goals, added a score of his own in Millburn’s upending stretch, which the Raiders lead, 4-2, before and trailed, 5-4, after.
After playing nearly the entire first quarter scoreless, Jack Brady, a Wagner commit, broke the ice and gave Scotch Plains-Fanwood a 1-0 lead on his goal with 10 seconds remaining in the opening frame. Millburn would respond later in the half, but that’s when Noah Costanzo broke out.
With the score even at one, the Raiders’ junior scored twice during a two minute span in the second quarter to give his team a 3-2 lead entering halftime. Costanzo scored 26 goals a year ago, and now has four in two games this season.
Millburn did respond to Constanzo’s scoring barrage, cutting its deficit in half on a goal from Brown.
Brown would tally a total of three goals and game-best five points (goals and assists) to lead Millburn, which is now 2-0. Nuggent added a pair of goals and Williams scored his game-winner to round out the Millers’ scoring. Daniel Horgan added an assist.
Between the pipes for Millburn, Jack Gruchacz made 13 saves while picking up the win.
It’s a quick turnaround for Scotch Plains-Fanwood, which returns to the field Thursday afternoon. The Raiders hit the road to take on Union County foe Cranford in the fifth annual Cole’s Cup Game at 3:00 p.m.