Thanks to Jeff Horwitz for the pictures!
Author’s Note: This morning I was able to clarify that Braedon McKercher wore #26, not Patrick Kelly. I have changed the names Sunday morning. We apologize to him and his family for the mix-up
Lake Mary outscored Stoneman Douglas 2-0 in the fourth quarter to take a well played victory over host Stoneman Douglas 10-8 Friday night in Parkland.
It was a quite fitting ending for a game that saw the teams tied at 3 after the first, tied at 6 at the half and tied at 8 after three.
And those scores were very representative of this back and forth thriller.
A big win for Lake Mary as they work their way back up the rankings . . . and they welcomed back a returning Charlie Ragault from injury. Ragault led all players with 6 points on 2G/4A and scored the game winner with 4:06 left before assisting on the empty net clincher by Vaughn Mauer in the last minute.
At no point in the game did either team lead by more than 2 goals (Lake Mary twice) and the statistics certainly showed that the game was close in many ways.
The only complaint I have was with the field, which was filled with areas of clumped dirt and on multiple occasions players unfortunately missed on ground balls due to the loose dirt, and on at least three occasions players got dirt in their eyes while contesting in those spaces. I spoke with Stoneman assistant coach Neil McAdorey after the game, as he has some familiarity with the situation and he mentioned that the interest was there but the county was an obstacle. Seems like Broward County has deemed that if Stoneman was going to pay for their own field upgrade they should do so for another school too.
Nice to see that the Peoples Republic of Broward County seems to be run by, shall we say, a horse designed by committee . . .
There was a lot to like about this game.
It all started at the faceoff dot . . . or specifically about 10 feet south of it . . . if I have my directions down right
Kevin Horwitz vs Shiloh Shassian
I didn’t count up all the time spent in neutral . . . but it was a lot more than the average car spends in that gear. Both coaches remarked after the game about the battle. Even in the booth the battle came up in discussion by the kids watching and taking care of the clock. It was that prominent.
Eventually Shassian came up with the winning numbers, but in reality the amount of time meant it was really a 3 on 3 battle and Lake Mary did have the more consistent wing play.
Charlie Ragault spent some time on the injured list this season and last night he returned to play. Coach Robinson mentioned to me he was not sure how much Charlie could play and what playing shape he was truly in.
Should have asked Charlie, Coach.
Ragault put on a decent amount of muscle since I last saw him and it fit him like a glove.
Those who remember Parker Giarratana of Boca Raton and now Manhattan would have done a double take last night.
The same size, the same left-handed moves, the same stick fakes, the same dodges . . . it was like watching the same exact player.
Ragault was a late commit to Hofstra . . . a good lesson to so many other kids that it’s never too late to chase what you want.
Manhattan and Hofstra are only about 31 miles apart.
Wouldn’t it be great to see them square off before Parker graduates?
Are you listening coaches?
A really nice moment happened during halftime.
A Lake Mary parent and a Stoneman parent talked about how well the Lake Mary community treated the Stoneman team last year when they traveled up there last season and how Stoneman would reciprocate after this one.
I’ve seen this hospitality at a number of schools, but not all of them.
Here’s a simple guideline . . . if the visitors are traveling more than 3 hours . . . provide them with food.
And a smile.
We have enough knuckleheads who can’t behave in the stands. Shame them with kindness.
I’ll be touching on that more tomorrow in the Media Poll, due to ANOTHER ridiculous crowd situation that happened about 10 miles away in Delray.
At a GIRLS game.
Thank you Lake Mary and Stoneman parents for showing the proper way to be fans and leaders.
I was all set to talk to Coach Robinson after the game if his team lost it late about the shooting . . . except that a funny thing happened in the second half.
12 shot attempts, only 4 hit the cage.
But all four went in . . . not that Stoneman freshman goalie Alex Moscou was to blame . . . every shot except the empty netter tickled the corners.
Still, 4 shots on goal and 4 goals is a pretty good grade of 100.
If they keep up that pace they will be favorites to win it all.
Just kidding Gary.
This game was probably a little more important for Lake Mary. They experienced a mid-season hiccup against LHP, STA and Lovett (Ga) and had then beaten three teams with losing records, while Stoneman was riding a 6-game winning streak. A road win over a Top 10 team is the type of win that ignites a late season run . . . and with no easy games left on the schedule a win like this can go a long way.
For Stoneman, Coach Burton noted that the season is still a process, getting better each game. Next Saturday there’s a road date with Oxbridge, and Coach Burton will be looking for his own season momentum win. He’s come close the last two seasons but outside of the 2015 opener against Saint Andrews he’s come up short on the Top 5 matchups. A win over Oxbridge gets that.
A loss isn’t that important in that it means nothing to District seeding, it’s just about building late season momentum.
And every coach is looking for that.
Lake Mary opened the scoring at 9:08 as Taylor Ayres dodged from the right wing to the middle and found Ragault on the left wing for the step down shot to the low short side for 1-0. Stoneman came back with two goals to take their only lead of the game at 2-1. First was Max Buckner at 7:53 as took a feed on the low left and face dodged to the crease for the short side shot and at 6:23 Austin Figas went with a stop and start from the top to the right alley and he found the top right corner. Kyle Sande tied it back up at 2 just 26 seconds later as he dodged to the middle from the left side and rocketed one in the top middle of the net only to have SD’s Daniel Sgammato regain the lead at 5:07 on a left wing dodge to the middle and going high to the mid cage himself. But Ragault tied it back up less than a minute later on a Braedon McKercher feed to the right crease for the easy finish to end the quarter.
Sande gave LM the lead back at 11:09 of the second as he worked the left wing and face dodged to the middle for the low right corner shot. He then completed his first half hat trick three minutes later as McKercher found him cutting through the low middle and his shot went low to high for the 5-3 lead. SD responded twice to tie it in 63 seconds. At 6:25 Buckner cut to the middle from the left wing and fired low left and at 5:12 it was Sgammato working the give and go with Braden Mygatt on the low left and Sgammato stung the high shot, drawing a penalty on the play. After killing the penalty and drawing one of their own it was Lake Mary’s turn to take the lead on EMO at 3:37 as McKercher took the left wing skip pass from Sande on the right crease for the one-timer, but SD responded at 2:57 as Figas went right alley and hit the low left off hip shot to make it 6-6 at the half.
Lake Mary opened the second half quickly, again regaining the 2-goal advantage in the first three minutes. First Ragault found Jacob Donovan on the left wing from behind at 10:25 for the step down high shot and at 9:18 he found McKercher cutting to the right crease after drawing the slide in the middle for the easy open look. Less than a minute later SD got one back as Sgammato found Sam Bailin down low in the middle for the left hand low shot and at 3:16 it was Mygatt beating his defender to the cage from the back left corner for the one on one in front to send it tied at 8 after three.
The game went back and forth in the forth as only 8 shots were attempted and the ball was turned over 7 times as each team tried to get the edge. Finally it came down, as I so often say in these columns, to a star player making a star play at the key moment. And, appropriately enough, it was the returning star coming back to reclaim his mantle. With 4:06 Ragault took possession behind the net and worked his way to the front and his left hand hit the low far corner to give LM the lead. Stoneman had their looks to take the lead before this but LM goalie Michael Hubbard came up big in the second half, making 5 saves on 7 shots on goal. And after the go ahead goal LM was able to gain the faceoff and was able to run off a lot of time and when Stoneman finally pulled the goalie to double team it was Ragault again taking charge, finding Mauer open in front for the empty net goal to close out the game.
This was one you could put in a bottle and take it out once in a while to watch for sheer enjoyment.
Stoneman returns to action on Wednesday, hosting Cypress Bay while Lake Mary is off until they return to southern Florida on Friday for a weekend doubleheader with Oxbridge and Saint Edwards on Saturday and ends up with interesting matchups with undefeated West Orange and Georgia power Johns Creek.
Faceoffs: LM 13-9
Shots: SD 28-27
Shots on Goal: SD 18-14
Turnovers: LM 14-9
Penalties: 2 each
Charlie Ragault 2G/4A
Kyle Sande 3G/1A
Braedon McKercher 2G/2A
Taylor Ayres, Vaughn Mauer and Jacob Donovan with 1G each
Michael Hubbard made 10 saves
Daniel Sgammato 2G/1A
Max Buckner and Austin Figas with 2G each
Brayden Mygatt 1G/1A
Sam Bailin 1G
Alex Moscou with 4 saves
Thanks to Coach Burton and Coach Robinson for talking to me before and after the game