Those faceoff drills during Ward Melville practices must be pretty intense, because Jack Bruckner and Frank Lucatuorto are two of the best in Suffolk and they go at it hard every day.
"All those reps against each other push us to get better," Bruckner said after he and Lucatuorto won 15 of 20 faceoffs Tuesday in the Patriots' 13-7 victory over host North Babylon.
"You win faceoffs and you control the game," said Bruckner, who won seven of 10. He also scored the first two goals of the game, had an assist and a clean faceoff win that led directly to a give-and-go that Mike Rastivo (two goals, one assist) finished. "If we win the faceoff, we immediately are in transition. If we lose, we've got guys who can play defense."
Ward Melville didn't lose many in improving to 4-1 (3-0 in Suffolk Division I). Lucatuorto won eight of 10 faceoffs and had a goal and two assists as the Patriots demonstrated the depth and talent on their first two midfield units, which totaled 12 points.
"That's definitely the strength of our team," Lucatuorto said. "Our two midfield lines are powerful and we feed off each other. It doesn't matter which group is out there. We all have the capability to shoot, run the field and play defense. This team runs through the midfields. There's a lot on our plate every game."
Bruckner, John Edmonds (one goal, two assists) and Christian Mazzone comprise the first unit, with Lucatuorto anchoring the second trio that includes Jimmy Coughlan (two goals) and J.D. Vion. They were especially dominant in the first half. Ward Melville led 6-1 after one, built the lead to 10-1 and led 11-3 at the half.
"That's our strength -- to run five good offensive kids, six good defensive kids and two good faceoff kids at you," Ward Melville coach Mike Hoppey said.
There were second-half lulls that let North Babylon (3-2, 2-1 league) and its talented attack of Matt Beccaris (three goals) and Ryan Slane (goal, two assists) do some damage.
"We had 11 at halftime and I guess our kids thought it was over," Hoppey said. "North Babylon's kids obviously didn't think so and kept coming.''