By Mike Dougherty
CORTLANDT MANOR — There is plenty Lakeland/Panas could learn from John Jay, starting with coming into the game with the proper mindset and using that intensity to build and early lead. There is plenty the Indians could learn from the Rebels, starting with how to close the game like a desperate team and steal momentum.
A complete game remains elusive for both programs.
John Jay went ahead in the opening minutes, then survived a late rally to down Lakeland/Panas 13-9 on Thursday at Walter Panas High School.
“It’s very important to get on a team that starts off slow because, as everyone could see, our second half wasn’t so good,” said Andrew Duffy, who led the Indians with three goals. “In the first half, we moved the ball around. In the second half, we couldn’t possess the ball.”
John Jay (8-2) dominated the ball and led 4-0 after the first quarter.
“Until we start competing from the opening whistle, we haven’t learned anything,” said Rebels coach Jim Lindsay. “That’s what’s frustrating about these guys. … They work hard in practice, but in games, for whatever reason, it just does not click. Or it clicks and it’s too late.”
The Indians were up 8-2 when Ryan Lee slipped inside just 11 seconds after the intermission.
And that’s when Lakeland/Panas (3-8) made a stand. Andrew Sonofrio made it a 12-9 game with four minutes to play, and John Jay made a bad situation worse by landing in the penalty box for two minutes.
Jack Lambert came up big in the final minutes, twice racing the other way with the ball when the Rebels made a mistake.
“If didn’t start like that, they probably would’ve come back and beat us, because as coach described it, we played gross in the second half,” John Jay defenseman Matt Lanza said. “We definitely needed Jack on defense. He capitalized on their mistakes after they capitalized on ours.”
Ryan Lee scored a man-down goal with 1:52 remaining to end the comeback.
“We’ve had the same problem all year,” said Brian Prunty, who had four goals and one assist for Lakeland/Panas. “We come out sleepwalking and wait until we’re in a hole in the second half to really start playing. We’re a young team and we have to eventually learn how to play a full game.”