When it came to standing tall in the rain, no one was sturdier than Syosset defenseman Danny Ochs (as in “oaks”).
“He was the most noticeable player on the field,” Braves coach John Calabria said after Ochs collected 10 ground balls to spark the defense, and David Moyett scored three goals in Syosset’s 7-4 victory over host Farmingdale Tuesday in a Nassau I game played in a relentless rain.
Ochs made his presence felt early when he delivered a trail check to force a turnover that led to a goal by Liam Kalbacher for a 3-0 lead. Moyett had scored the first two goals. The Braves (6-0) took a 4-1 halftime lead on a slam dunk by Jack Pucci off a feed from J.P. Lanning (goal, three assists). That one was also set up by an Ochs takeaway.
Syosset entered as one of the highest-scoring teams in Nassau (more than 13 goals per game), but Farmingdale’s defense and an outstanding game by Dalers goalie Brody Agres (11 saves) placed a high premium on goals. “Farmingdale kids are tough,’’ Calabria said, “and we matched their toughness.”
With Ochs and his defensive partners making it tough for the Dalers to score, Syosset protected its early lead with long possessions, cashing in just enough to remain in control. Lanning turned and fired for a goal early in the third, and Pucci finished off a feed from Moyett to make it 6-1 after three quarters.
“We didn’t take a lot of shots, but we capitalized on our opportunities,” Moyett said. “Sometimes our best defense is goals on offense. We had some two- or three-minute possessions and we ended up scoring goals.”
The Braves’ victory margin would have been greater if not for several tough saves by Agres. Syosset committed a couple of sloppy penalties, but Ochs & Co. were impenetrable, allowing only one man-down goal in seven opportunities. That came when Kyle Tucker (two goals, one assist), after a faceoff win by Brian Michael, scooped up a rebound and swept it into the net. The Dalers’ second goal in 10 seconds made it 7-4 with 4:31 left.
But Syosset didn’t allow another good scoring chance and effectively ran out the clock, even passing up an empty net in the final minute as Farmingdale (4-2) sent Agres out of the cage to help double-team the Braves’ attackers.
“Our defense gets overlooked,” Ochs said, “but that’s the way with any team. We focused on contesting every ground ball, sliding and, most importantly, communicating.”
Wind gusts and sideways torrents did not help.
“The wind hurts your hearing,” Ochs said, “and the rain is tough on your stick.”
But the mighty Ochs did not bend.