Bruckner, Edmonds lead WM to upset victory

Smithtown West's #20 Chris Watson, left, and Ward

Smithtown West's #20 Chris Watson, left, and Ward Melville's #13 Sean Finnigan exchange blows while a Smithtown West assistant tries to break up the scuffle during an altercation at the conclusion of Ward Melville's 13-9 win in a Suffolk boys lacrosse Class A semifinal. (May 25, 2012) (Credit: James Escher)

Led by Jack Bruckner and John Edmonds, who each had three goals and an assist, third-seeded Ward Melville upset No. 2 Smithtown West, 13-9, Friday in a Suffolk Class A boys lacrosse semifinal that ended with a skirmish between the two teams.

The Patriots will face defending champion West Islip in the final at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Stony Brook University.

Friday's semifinal was marked by a bench-clearing scrum that resulted in the game being called with 5.6 seconds left. Coaches and referees were able to separate the players after about half a minute.

"It's a big-time rivalry between us and it's a playoff game," said Edmonds, a senior. "There was a lot of intensity, but I honestly don't know what happened exactly."

Ward Melville coach Mike Hoppey declined to comment on the altercation. A call Friday night to Section XI director Edward Cinelli wasn't immediately returned, but Suffolk athletic officials will likely review video of the game to determine if penalties should be assessed.

Ward Melville's Frank Lucatuorto (three goals) tied the score at 8 with 11.4 seconds left in the first half. The Patriots went ahead for good on Michael Rastivo's goal -- off a feed from Billy Gibbs -- with 9:18 remaining in the third quarter. Rastivo scored again to make it 10-8 with 4:19 left in the third.

Alex Dodge had three goals, Christian Zawadski and Ryan Keenan each scored twice, and Brian Masi had two assists for the Bulls (16-2).

Ward Melville trailed 5-4 when Danny Nemirov was subbed in for Ryan Simpson in goal with 1:41 left in the first quarter. Nemirov had lost his starting job after a 12-6 loss to Smithtown West on April 11.

"Ryan had stepped in and played very well, but Danny was doing well in practice," Hoppey said. "We thought if Ryan struggled a little, Danny would be an option."

Nemirov made several spectacular saves, including one off a sidearm rifle shot from 9 yards with seven minutes left and Ward Melville (15-3) protecting an 11-8 lead. The Patriots, utilizing a zone defense, didn't allow a second-half goal until Zawadski scored with 2:06 remaining in the fourth.

"It feels great to win at [Smithtown West]," said Nemirov, who made seven saves. "We knew what we had to do get the 'W' and we executed it."

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