The Bulldogs boy’s varsity lacrosse team trailed the entire game up until 7:10 remaining in the fourth quarter on Tuesday’s season finale Class B showdown at Williamsville East. The lead was relinquished nearly four and a half minutes later, but Hamburg senior Brett Chiodo put the ‘Dawgs on top for good with only 0:40 left in the contest in what would be the decisive game-winning goal.
“This comeback is a nice boost,” said Hamburg head coach Jerry Severino on the exciting win to end the regular season. “I think we’ll be ready to go. We’re going to practice hard and be ready [for the postseason].”
While trailing in all of the first three and nearly a half quarters, Hamburg was only down by as many as three goals at most and that deficit didn’t last more than fifteen seconds. However, the core group of seasoned veterans who lead the defending Class B champions kept cool under constant pressure and executed the game plan to gut out the win late in the fourth quarter.
Coach Severino stated “We prepare by doing the same things over and over; our fundamentals every single day, our film study is key, and the coaches are breaking everything down…it’s every single day.”
It was the second meeting between the Class B leading teams this season, a matchup of two teams highlighted by a plethora of seniors, numerous top level goal scorers, dynamic midfielders, aggressive defenses, quick attack units, and staunch goalies.
Williamsville East took the lead nearly three minutes into the first quarter off a score by Dylan Schihl. Hamburg’s Brock Schneider scored his first of four goals on the evening to tie the game with just under eight minutes remaining in the first quarter. Another goal by Schihl and one from Dom Piccillo, who was absent in the first meeting of the season between the teams (a 9-2 Hamburg win), and one score from Hamburg’s Matt Walsh closed the opening quarter at 3-2 in favor of East.
In the second quarter the aggressive Flames defense continued to cause problems for the Hamburg offense while both teams committed penalties in what was already a hard hitting affair.
With East up 5-2 and riding the momentum, Schneider and Spencer Nyhart scored back to back Hamburg goals only nineteen seconds apart to regain some of that energy before the half. However, a push in the crease penalty committed by the Bulldogs was an opportunity for Williamsville to score one more goal before the half. Piccillo capitalized on the Hamburg mistake and increased the lead back to two with only a second remaining on the clock. The half ended in favor of East, 6-4.
Piccillo scored again for a hat trick only twenty-five seconds after the start of the third quarter to give the Flames their largest lead of the day, 7-4. However, a penalty gave the ‘Dawgs a man advantage and it was Nyhart who made them pay. Schneider followed up with his hat trick goal and the remaining seven minutes of the 3rd went completely scoreless.
In the final twelve minutes of play, Brett Chiodo broke the Bulldogs even with the Flames for the first time all game, 7-7. Schneider’s fourth score of the night secured the 8-7 lead, only to be evened out by East’s Clayton Osborne with his only goal of the contest.
As the final three minutes of the game turned into a race up and down the field, Chiodo stepped in front of the opposing goal with only forty seconds left to put Hamburg back on top, 9-8, and this time for good.
“We needed Brock Schneider to show up for us today,” said Severino on his star senior attack man, adding “Brett Chiodo delivered enough to help us win the game. Spencer Nyhart was very good. And at midfield Matt Walsh had a great first goal and did exactly what we talked about what he should do before we came on the field.”
Schneider tallied one assist to go with his four scores to lead the Bulldogs with five points on the night. Chiodo also tallied one assist while Walsh and Brian Colmerauer each contributed two. Jared Evenden had a busy night in net making thirteen saves pushing his total on the season to 102.
Ryan Mitchell and Jordan Polk rounded out the goal scoring for East. Joe Amici made nine big time saves against a Hamburg attack unit that no one in Western New York has been able to cool this season.
Hamburg improved to 12-4 overall this season and a perfect 10-0 in Class B going into the playoffs as the top seed in the class. East finishes the season at 12-4 overall but 7-3 in Class B.
“We’re thrilled to go 10-0 in the division,” commented Severino. “We took our lumps against the Rochester teams and the two Virginia teams, but that’s why we play. We do believe that we can contend with those Rochester teams now.”
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