WHITE PLAINS – There’s no doubt Yorktown was getting ready to storm the field, but the latest celebration was in a holding pattern until Billy Strassman came up with the exclamation point.
A late John Jay comeback nearly spoiled the fun.
Strassman found the net from a difficult angle with 17.6 seconds remaining and sealed an 11-9 win in the Section 1 Class B championship game Thursday at Loucks Field. It was the fifth straight title for the Huskers, who had not been tested here in since being taken into overtime three years ago by the Indians.
The drama only fueled the fun after the final buzzer.
“It’s never old,” said Strassman, a senior who moved to attack for the second half and responded with four goals. “I’m a little sad because it’s the last time for me.”
Yorktown plays the winner of next Wednesday’s regional game between the Section 2 and Section 9 champions.
At halftime, the Indians were in a very good place.
Kyle Casey did get Yorktown on the board first when he rattled in a shot from 15-yards out, but Ryan Lee evened the score in transition a short time later. Nick Sanfardino stormed in off the draw and gave the Huskers a 2-1 lead, but Matt Lupinacci turned and scored with a lefty rip.
Both teams were coming up with big plays on the defensive end.
Yorktown pole Tyler Makar forced a turnover in the opening minutes of the second quarter, the ball was moving up the field in hurry and Logan Peters hit Justin Cavallo in stride. He converted the layup, giving the Huskers a 3-2 lead.
It was the last goal of the half.
John Jay (12-8) had a difficult time staying with its rival during the regular season, losing 15-8 and 11-2, so this had to feel like progress.
Lee livened things up when he opened the second half with a long-distance got the Indians even.
And the next five minutes, all of the optimism melted away.
Yorktown (15-4) suddenly began to move the ball with speed and precision, and the Indians could not keep up. A four-goal run had the Huskers in front 7-3 with 401 to go in the third quarter. Cavallo netted a pair of goals. Michael Dedvukaj and Strassman also scored for Yorktown.
John Jay had to call a timeout and get some air.
“You would think we could play like that more often,” Huskers coach Dave Marr said. “It’s been like that all year, we play in spurts. It wasn’t the end of us tonight, but if we go deeper it’s going to be tough overcoming lulls.”
It was a 10-5 game when the Indians stormed back. Hunter Keech and Danny Skluth kept rushing in for goals, and Vin Foti made it a 10-9 deficit with 55.1 seconds remaining. It was the last gasp. Jose Boyer scooped up a ground ball on the face off, and Strassman eventually locked up the win.