It wasn’t that Half Hollow Hills East flipped the switch to start the third quarter. More like the Thunderbirds flipped the script.
“Coach said wake up and we did,” Drew Martin said after host Hills East broke a halftime tie with a five-goal third quarter and pulled away for a 12-7 victory over Bay Shore on Friday afternoon in a Suffolk II game.
Martin and fellow senior Mike Monitto scored three goals each and freshman Sam Rothman had a breakout game with four goals as the Thunderbirds used a 5-0 third quarter to improve to 10-2. Will Button scored three goals for the Marauders, who fell to 8-4.
“It was more mindset than anything else. We have a lot of seniors and we didn’t want to disappoint on Senior Day,” Monitto said. “There were a lot of parents and fans in the stands and maybe we had some jitters in the first half. The looks were there, we just didn’t finish. In the second half, we got the defense moving and finished in transition.”
The teams traded goals in the first half, which ended tied at 5. Then Martin started winning faceoffs from Bay Shore’s Terrance Day, who had a solid first half. “That was a key. I had to get us the ball,” Martin said.
Chris Wulforst broke the tie for good by intercepting a clearing pass and scoring unassisted 12 seconds into the third quarter. Two minutes later, Martin converted a feed from Ryan Doran and a minute later, Rothman finished from the right wing. Monitto duplicated Wulforst’s feat by intercepting a goalie pass and scoring and Rothman made it 10-5 with 5:50 left in the third.
“We trust each other. Nobody cares who gets the goals or who gets the assists,” Martin said. “We just want to move the ball on offense.”
The Thunderbirds did just that, racking up assists on eight of their goals. “We don’t have any of the league leaders in scoring,” coach Paul Benway said. “But we do a good job of sharing the ball. We knew that to beat their zone, we had to move the ball.”
The other component to the T-birds’ joy ride was its defense. Longstick midfielder Sal Pascarella and defenseman Mike Gomez took away the angles and goalie Evan Stallone made 11 saves.
“That third quarter was such a momentum swing,” Martin said. It helped the defense and the goaltending. Everyone relaxed.”
They just stuck to the script.