In a battle of sports cars, the Thunderbirds had a little more pep than the Mustangs. Must have been their traction-control tires.
Connetquot’s Thunderbirds outlasted the host Mustangs of Mount Sinai, 8-5, through intermittent hail and steady rain in a non-league, season-opening matchup for both boys lacrosse teams Wednesday night.
It was not surprising goals came at a premium, especially in the three-goal first half. Connetquot goalie Zach Oliveri, who finished with 11 saves, was a second team All-Long Island selection last season and is aided by first-team defender Mike Pellegrino. Mount Sinai goalie Matt Poillon (10 saves) also was a first-teamer.
A 5-0 third-quarter flurry provided most of Connetquot’s offense and opened a 6-2 lead. John Zullo scored the go-ahead goal during the 6:53 stretch when he whipped a righthanded shot with a defender draped over him. Just 39 seconds later, Pellegrino fired a shot with his long pole from 10 yards past Poillon to make it 4-2.
Steve Compitello’s bounce shot and Mike Sclafani’s rebound attempt from point-blank range completed the rally just as hail began to blanket Mount Sinai’s turf field. Sclafani, Zullo and Compitello each scored two goals, and Steven Candito added two assists.
“In the first half, we weren’t as accurate with our shots,” Connetquot coach Bobby Moltisanti Jr. said. “It was a lot of guys’ first action, so there were some nerves. Once we started hitting our targets, the shots began finding the back of the net.”
Mount Sinai scored two goals to close the third quarter, but Candito assisted Sclafani and Compitello in a 48-second span to make it 8-4 with 6:45 to play. Connetquot, a Class A team, earned the win over Class C Mount Sinai even though it lost nine of 15 faceoffs.
The T-Birds started a bit sluggish offensively, but still managed to take an early lead. Mike Pinto nearly opened the scoring on a man-up opportunity with 6:20 left in the first quarter, but Poillon (10 saves) came out of the net to check the ball away from him.
Zullo got Connetquot on the board 21 seconds later on a nice feed from Craig Kiernan. Chad Marino tallied the equalizer for Mount Sinai when he ripped a tough-angled shot from the right side into the top lefthanded corner of the net.
Thanks to freshman Zach Wolfe’s first career goal at 4:58 of the second quarter off a thread-the-needle pass from Marino, Mount Sinai took a 2-1 advantage into halftime.
But coming out of the pit stop, the Thunderbirds accelerated into the lead and kept the Mustangs in their rearview mirror the rest of the way.