Brian Crawley was in Baltimore on Saturday to watch his older brother John, a two-year captain at Johns Hopkins, play what turned out to be his final college game. “Tough way to end it, but he had a great career,” Brian said after the Blue Jays were eliminated by Duke in a first-round NCAA Tournament game.
Hopkins’ loss ruined a good Long Island-sibling story line, too. Brian scored three goals, including the tie-breaker with 7:00 left, to lead host No. 4 Port Washington to a 10-7 win over No. 5 Baldwin Tuesday in a Nassau Class A first-round playoff game. The victory earned the Vikings (11-5) a trip to the semifinals next Tuesday at Hofstra, the site of Saturday’s NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. Hopkins, not Duke, would have played at Shuart Stadium with a victory.
Instead, only one Crawley advanced, but it wasn’t an easy trip. Baldwin (6-10) rallied from a 7-4 deficit to tie the game with 11:00 left on goals by Christian Vera, Marcus Brown (his fourth) and T.J. Salvatore.
That’s when Crawley, a senior captain headed to Fairfield, delivered. He made a dodge to shake free and drilled a shot just inside the left post that beat stubborn Bruins goalie Jared Tine-Smith, who made 13 saves.
“I had trouble beating my man the whole game, but I finally did it and took it to the house,” Crawley said. “It felt good, especially because my team needed me right then. The way we finished showed a lot about our character.”
James Alimonte took a feed from John Athanasian (two goals, two assists) to make it 9-7 with 4:07 left and Port Washington goalie A.J. Galassi made three of his 11 saves during a two-man-down situation. Crawley iced it with 1:52 left with another unassisted tally.
“We have six guys who can score and sometimes it’s tough for Brian, on attack, to get involved in the play,” Port Washington coach Isaac Neal said. “But when we needed him, he responded.”
So did junior faceoff specialist Tommy Dover, who won 17 of 19 draws to give the Vikings numerous possessions that nullified the Bruins’ patient offense.
“Faceoffs are really important,” Dover said. “The more possessions you get the more chances you have to score. I try to use power and be quick with my hands.”
Dover won the game’s first 14 faceoffs. “That was huge,” Neal said, “especially the way they play. It was huge knowing that after they milked the clock for three minutes and scored, that we would get the ball back.”
Dover said he was pleased with his performance — “17 out of 19 is a good percentage”-– but added with a smile, “I had one game where I didn’t lose any.”
His next chance for a perfect game is Tuesday at Hofstra at 3:30 against No. 1 Massapequa.