It wasn't as if Massapequa had been sleepwalking through the first three quarters. The Chiefs scored eight goals in the first half and even after a scoreless third quarter led by four with 11:13 left.
Then it was as if an alarm clock went off loudly in the huddle during a timeout. Wake-up call? It sure looked that way. Massapequa scored two goals in 16 seconds, took a short breather, then scored three goals in 50 seconds on its way to an eight-goal fourth quarter and a resounding 16-6 non-league victory over Wantagh on Friday night at Burns Park in Massapequa Park.
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"I just told them to relax and win the fourth quarter," Massapequa coach Tim Radomski said.
The Chiefs did as they were told, though there wasn't much relaxing. Ian Kirby scored two of his four goals and added an assist in the fourth-quarter flurry. Paul Bentz (three goals, three assists) had two goals in the fourth and Jim Byrns (three goals, one assist) contributed a goal and an assist during the burst.
And all game long, faceoff specialist Joe DeMarco made sure the Chiefs had a territorial advantage, winning 22 of 25 draws. In fact, DeMarco turned the key to start up Massapequa in the fourth. After Wantagh's Kyle Cain scored to make it 8-4, DeMarco won the faceoff, got the ball to Kirby, who found Bentz cutting to the net for a demoralizing goal. DeMarco won the next faceoff, too, Kirby scored unassisted 16 seconds later and it was 10-4.
Brandon Watson scored his second of the game to make it 10-5, but DeMarco kept winning draws and Kirby, Carter Hawthorne and Byrns scored in the fifth minute of the fourth quarter to make it a laugher.
"Coach got us going in the huddle," said Bentz, a senior middie. "We got very emotional in the fourth quarter and answered."
Bentz, Kirby and Byrns were part of a shooting spree that included mostly high-percentage shots from around the cage.
"We're always doing shooting drills," Bentz said. "We look for one more feed and the easy shot. If we can draw two [defenders] behind the cage, someone is wide open in the crease."
The Chiefs buzzed the cage plenty in the fourth quarter. They were wide open and wide awake.