MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. - Cold Spring Harbor was already making it unpleasant for Pleasantville in the first half of yesterday's state Class C semifinal. But the last few seconds provided two emphatic exclamation points.
Ryan Winkoff took a snappy feed from Ian Laviano to score his third of the game with 4.5 seconds left. But were the Seahawks satisfied with that bit of stickwork? Hardly. Matt Licciardi won the ensuing faceoff and raced right down the alley to score as the horn sounded.
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"Crazy goal," Winkoff said. "The ball was on the back of his stick. He didn't have time to flip it over." But Licciardi was able to flip it past the goalie and Cold Spring Harbor was on its way to a thorough 14-4 victory at Middletown High School.
Winkoff scored four goals to lead a ball-moving offense, Licciardi won 17 of 21 faceoffs and scored two goals with two assists. Colin Burke and Riley Cox also scored two goals each, and Laviano scored a goal with three assists as Cold Spring Harbor (18-1) advanced to the state Class C final against Cazenovia on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Vestal High School.
"I was about to flip it into my cradle when I heard someone yell 'one second,' " said Licciardi, who was 10-for-10 on faceoffs in the first half. "I didn't have time so I just let it go and I was lucky it went in."
There was far more skill than luck in Cold Spring Harbor's victory. The Seahawks won the ground ball battle by a stunning 41-18 margin and outshot the Panthers (19-2) 41-17.
"We don't take any opponent for granted, especially at this time of the year," said Licciardi, whose brother Joe excelled this season for St. Anthony's. "But once we get the ball in transition, there's not much a defense can do to stop us."
That was clear early. Winkoff, Laviano and Licciardi gave Cold Spring Harbor a 3-0 lead 4 minutes into the game. A timeout by Pleasantville did little to help. Cox, Winkoff and Cox again made it 6-1 early in the second quarter.
The final seconds of the half made it clear Cold Spring Harbor was moving on. "We never heard of Pleasantville, but we took them seriously," Winkoff insisted. "No game is guaranteed. But this was the best game we've played all year."