Being a top seed in any sport usually comes with a little bit of added pressure and expectation. You typically play the role of hunted rather than hunter, and no matter what, you know you’re going to get your opponent’s best shot.
And on Saturday night, the Islanders visited Mt. Carmel Sun Devils’ best shot in the CIF Quarterfinals and still came out on top in front of a packed crowd with the 11-10 victory to advance to the CIF Semifinals.
To start the game, the Islanders came out hot in the first quarter, within the first four minutes, Landon Sutherland and Neil Capin had found the back of the net on two low heaters to give the Islanders an early 2-0 advantage. However, Mt. Carmel would quickly answer with three goals of their own to retake a 3-2 lead over the Islanders.
But just as quickly as Mt. Carmel would retake the lead, the Islanders would pry it back. Following a steal and ground ball from Vinton Garden, he would find Matthew Tetzlaff, who would connect with Charley Kobets to make it a 3-3 game.
Just a little over a minute later, Coronado would tack on yet another goal after Robby Spane would win the drop and find Finley Alexander, who would do the rest and find the back of the net to make it a 4-3 Islander lead at the end of the first quarter.
With the early flurry of goals coming in the first, it appeared that we were going to be in the middle of a scoring shootout. But the second quarter would look dramatically different. For the Islanders, Emmett Warner, Garden, Jonah York, and Truett Smith would all play lockdown defense as their defense minimized looks at goal.
Islander goalie Charley Lang put on a clinic in the net, recording five-plus saves in the second and allowing just one goal the entire second quarter.
The second quarter looked to be the perfect time for the Islanders to perhaps create some distance between themselves and Mt. Carmel. Yet despite a number of quality shots, the Islander’s offense would only muster one second-quarter goal themselves. The goal came courtesy of Spane, as he stung the top right shelf of the net and made it a 5-4 Islander leading heading into the half.
While the offenses took a brief hiatus in the second quarter, the Islander’s offense would come back in full force in the third. In the opening minutes, the Islanders would tally three straight goals. Two would come off outstanding finishes from Capin and would beat the goalies on wraparounds both times. The 3-0 run would give the Islanders an 8-4 lead with just about 3:32 left to play in the third.
But Mt. Carmel certainly didn’t hear a bell. The Sun Devils would respond with a 4-0 run over the final 3 minutes of the 3rd, tying the game at 8-8 heading to the 4th.
The teams would exchange goals in the fourth and keep things level at 9-9, where it would stay until a critical turning point came with 6:52 left to play; the Islander’s defense would force a turnover and quickly run out into a transition offense. Tetzlaff would find Maximus Kieffer who would beat the Sun Devils’ keeper to make it a 10-9 game on the transition attack.
Later with 3:57, the Islander defense would again come up huge as Warner would be the one to create a turnover. With the islanders in possession on offense, it would again be Capin would sling in an absolute dart past the goalie to make it 11-9 with 1:57 to play.
Mt. Carmel would make things hard once again with a goal with 50 seconds left to play and would, in fact, win the next drop. The Islander’s defense would stand tall one more time, force two errant shot attempts, and capture the 11-10 victory.
The Islanders will return to action in the CIF Semifinals this Wednesday when they take on La Jolla Country Day at home, with the game starting at 7 p.m.
Tickets for the game may be purchased at gofan.com.
VOL. 112, NO. 20 - May 18, 2022