Yorktown players celebrate after their 9-6 win over top-seeded Lakeland/Panas tonight in the Class A sectional title game at Suffern Middle School. The win gave Yorktown its 26th sectional title in the last 28 years, avenged for a loss to the Rebels earlier this season in the Charlie Murphy Cup game and snapped Lakeland/Panas’ 18-game win streak. (Vincent DiSalvio/The Journal News)
It seems kind of appropriate that one of the stars of Yorktown’s 9-6 win over Lakeland/Panas tonight was sophomore goaltender Michael Bonitatibus.
That’s because Bonitatibus’ own comeback mirrors that of the Yorktown team.
After becoming the first freshman to start in goal since 1967 last season, Bonitatibus lost his starting job to senior Pat Werner early this season.
But tonight, Bonitatibus, who reclaimed his starting job for the start of sectionals, was spectacular, making 14 saves, including several from point-blank range, as the ‘Huskers held on for the win.
As spectacular as Bonitatibus was, one of the biggest plays of the game occurred on a shot that eluded him. Midway through the fourth quarter, a rip by Lakeland/Panas all-America senior Andrew Collins hit the crossbar with such velocity that it bounced almost to midfield. Seconds later, Yorktown’s John Froats was able to cash it in for his fourth goal of the game, giving Yorktown a 9-5 lead after it easily could have been an 8-6 game.
That wound up being Yorktown’s only goal of the second half. You’ll recall Yorktown was held scoreless in the second half of its 10-9 loss to the Rebels in the Charlie Murphy Cup on May 5 which ended the ‘Huskers’ streak of 12 straight Murphy Cup wins.
And there’s another irony here, too.
Last year, John Jay’s 10-9 overtime win over Yorktown in the sectional finals came on a man-up goal by Chris Bocklet that followed a delay-of-game penalty against Bonitatibus. The penalty came after Bonitatibus protested a push-from-behind call that was made against Yorktown.
In the preseason, Bonitatibus told me he learned from that game and that nothing like it would happen again.
And tonight, when Yorktown students rushed onto the field to celebrate the team’s big win, Michael Bonitatibus was right there at the center of the celebration.
Considering where this Yorktown was heading into the postseason Ã¢â‚¬â€ in the midst of a three-game losing streak and knowing that anything short of a sectional title would ensure its first losing season since 1979 Ã¢â‚¬â€ this has to rank among the most gratifying of Yorktown’s 26 sectional titles the last 28 years.
To say nothing of the fact that the ‘Huskers endured a regular season in which they lost a school-record five straight games and also fell to Hen Hud and Horace Greeley for the first time ever.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s extremely gratifying,Ã¢â‚¬? said ‘Husker coach Dave Marr, a 1992 Yorktown grad who played on three state-finalist teams. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s definitely one of the top Section 1 titles that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been a part of. The kids went through a lot, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had a tough season. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re measured against a tremendous tradition and that can weigh a lot on a 14-, 15-, 16-, 17-year-old kid, and they persevered.Ã¢â‚¬?
Here’s a recap of tonight’s games, with links to our updates on the games (complete stories to come tomorrow, of course), as well as a schedule for Saturday’s state intersectional tripleheader lineup at John Jay:
Section 1 championship games
“Class A: Yorktown 9, Lakeland/Panas 6”:http://lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070531/SPORTS02/705310473
“Class B: John Jay 14, Somers 5”:http://lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070531/SPORTS02/705310459
“Class C: Rye 6, Putnam Valley 3”:http://lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070531/SPORTS02/705310470
Saturday, at John Jay
Class B: John Jay vs. Saugerties (Section 9), 1 p.m.
Class C: Rye vs. OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Neill (Section 9), 3:30 p.m.
Class A: Yorktown vs Pine Bush (Section 9), 6 p.m.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ “State playoff bracket”:http://boyslacrosse.lohudblogs.com/2007/05/29/sectional-lineup-state-playoff-brackets/