By Nancy Haggerty
SHRUB OAK – When Lucas Quinn scored his third goal on a neat, behind-the-back flick, it seemed like the rout was on.
The tally put Niskayuna, which dominated on face-offs and ground balls, up by five over Mamaroneck with under a minute to go in the first half of their Class A regional final Saturday at Lakeland High School.
But if not for goalie Nick Testa’s late-game play, Mamaroneck might be advancing to Wednesday’s state semifinal against Syosset instead of lamenting its slow start against a gifted team.
The Tigers got 13 shots past Testa, who’ll play for Villanova next year, but were stymied by him when it mattered the most and the Section 2 Silver Warriors won 16-13.
“Nick always does that. He’s a warrior,” said fellow senior John Prendergast, whose fourth goal with 5:28 left in the fourth quarter was the final goal for Niskayuna (18-2).
Testa, who had 11 saves, then made the three-goal cushion hold up, in part denying Eric Greenberg’s and Alex Ewald’s shots from right on his doorstep.
“Their goalie stood on his head at the end. Props to him,” said Bucknell-bound, all-America Reed Malas, who had three goals and an assist.
Greenberg had the goal of the game and maybe goal of the season to cut Niskayuna’s lead to 14-9 with 7:11 left in the third quarter. Cross-checked twice and slashed once, he fought through three defenders to eventually get inside for the score.
While Mamaroneck, 13-7, blew a two-man-up advantage that resulted from that play, taking two quick penalties, Greenberg scored his fourth goal at 5:51 to make it a four-goal game with 5:51 left in the third.
Ewald’s second goal off a pretty Malas feed, made it 15-13 with 6:24 left in the fourth. But Testa grabbed a potential breakaway pass less than a minute later after it sailed just out of Chris Conley’s reach.
“The first half really killed us,” Malas said. “Twelve goals is hard to recover from, especially when they’re winning most of the face-offs. I think early on we couldn’t stop their transition. We were a bit shell-shocked.”