Danny Dolan's saves help Garden City beat Manhasset
Minutes before the start of the 125th Wood Stick Classic, Garden City goalie Danny Dolan was the only player on the field.
He didn't participate in what's become part of the tradition of the matchup, when both teams follow members of the U.S. Marine Corps onto the field from the locker room.
That's because he was taking extra shots from an assistant coach.
The additional reps paid off. Dolan made a stop with 1:07 left as the host Trojans held on for a 9-8 win in a non-league game. Neither team attempted a shot in the final minute.
Manhasset (7-7) still leads the series all-time, 68-57, yet Garden City has won 18 of the last 23 meetings since 1997.
"It was tough missing that and not walking onto the field with the team, but I'd rather take the extra reps, start to see the ball well and get warmed up well," Dolan said.
Manhasset trailed 9-6 after the third quarter, but Tyler Dunn scored unassisted midway through the fourth quarter and then Matt Gavin cut the deficit to 9-8 with 4:50 remaining.
It was suddenly the close game many expected. Dunn tried to tie it with Manhasset's final shot, but Dolan didn't flinch.
"It was a good save, but our guys Tommy Wright and Timmy McDonagh did a great job of forcing that shot," said Dolan, who made 11 saves.
"Danny made a great save," Wright said. "He's an awesome goalie and our defense likes to play as a team. Every time before the game he takes reps and tries to get better. Every time."
Since . . .
"It started last year when I was in a bit of a goalie battle for the starting spot," Dolan said. "It worked out well for me."
So even in a game with added meaning, Dolan, like many other goalies, had no intentions of breaking the habit.
Cody George scored three goals for Garden City (11-2) and James Sullivan added two goals and an assist.
Sullivan, a faceoff stalwart, had the offensive highlight of the match. After George scored with 15.9 seconds left in the first half, Sullivan won the ensuing draw, kept the ball in his stick, and confidently ran down the field to cash in from 10 yards with 10.7 seconds remaining to give the Trojans a 7-3 lead.
Despite the early lead, Sullivan wasn't surprised it came down to the final minutes.
"This means a lot because of the tradition behind it," Sullivan said. "It's two great teams with great history and it's always fun and close."