By Vincent Mercogliano
RYE — Shawn Smith’s rocket shot hit a post with about 40 seconds remaining in overtime, eliciting a gasp from the John Jay sideline. A scoring drought that had lasted over 18 and a half minutes looked as if it would drag out into a second overtime period, but while many in the stands hung their heads, Smith continued to charge the Rye net.
“I hit the pipe and I saw it pop out to Jake Chintz up top,” Smith said. “I was just like, ‘Give me the ball again.’ ”
Chintz found Smith streaking back towards the goal mere seconds after his shot had ricocheted off of the post, and Smith’s second attempt was true. The junior midfielder netted the winning goal with 36 seconds remaining in overtime, propelling No. 3 John Jay to a 6-5 win against the second-seeded Garnets in Tuesday’s Class B semifinal.
The Indians will play Yorktown in the Class B final at 3 p.m. on Thursday at White Plains High.
“They did a great job controlling the ball and they kept it away from our offense for most of the game,” Smith said. “That played a big part in this game, and they were having more chances than we were. We just knew that when we got the ball on offense, we had to keep control and finish our shots.”
After defeating Rye by a four-goal margin earlier in the season, the Indians (12-6) quickly realized that they were up against a different team on Tuesday. Frazier Bostwick gave John Jay a 1-0 lead midway through the first quarter, but the Garnets (14-4) responded with three straight goals.
Chris Santagelo tied it at 1-1 before the end of the first quarter, and then Jack Hasselmann and Cal Hynson each scored early in the second quarter to give Rye a 3-1 lead.
“They’re always a talented team,” John Jay goalie Rob Looney said. “I was telling my team that the whole way through: ‘We can’t come in here thinking we won already.’ They’ve got some good players, and they gave us a good fight.”
A 4-3 halftime lead was extended to 5-3 with Santangelo’s second goal six minutes into the third quarter, but it wouldn’t last long.
“Being up 3-1 at one point and having a 5-3 lead, two goals against them feels like a great cushion,” Rye co-coach Brian Dooley said. “But you know it’s not.”
Smith made it 5-4 with 2:38 left in the third quarter, and Bostwick tied it up just 20 seconds later with a quick goal off of a faceoff win. John Jay had seized momentum, but the scoring would come to a halt in the fourth quarter.
Neither team would score again until Smith’s winner, thanks in large part to Looney, who finished with 14 saves. The biggest may have come on a low shot from Santangelo with just one second remaining in regulation.
“I was just really in the moment,” Looney said. “You just kind of go by instinct and see the ball. The ball looked like a beach ball at that time.”