In a spirited game of ‘dodge ball,’ Ward Melville’s dodgers proved most artful.
Dylan Pallonetti utilized a variety of moves to score four of his five goals unassisted and Dominic Pryor turned three slick dodges into goals as the Patriots outlasted Smithtown East, 12-11, Thursday in a slugfest of Suffolk I powerhouses who put on a show for an overflow crowd of more than 700 in East Setauket.
“When I was dodging, I always felt like I had a step,” said Pallonetti, a sophomore who now has 21 goals.
“We saw we were quicker than their defensemen,” said Pryor, a senior who added three assists. “After we moved the ball, the dodge created some open space.”
The Patriots, at 9-0 the only unbeaten Class A team left in Suffolk, scored eight unassisted goals. Smithtown East (8-2) had seven of the dodge-and-shoot variety, led by Bobby Burns, who turned in several spectacular moves to score four goals.
Pallonetti scored twice in 38 seconds on solo dashes for a quick early lead, and Andrew Lockhart scored two goals off Pryor feeds for a 4-1 lead after one.
Burns spun free for a goal to cut the deficit to 5-4 with 1:43 left in the half, but Pallonetti beat the clock with his own dodge just four seconds before halftime.
With Mike Giaquinto winning 16 of 21 faceoffs to prevent any huge scoring bursts by the Bulls, who average 14 goals a game, Ward Melville built what looked like a safe 11-8 lead with 8:43 left on Pallonetti’s fifth. But Brian Herber won two consecutive draws and the Bulls capitalized with goals by Sean Barry and Burns to make it a one-goal game with 8:00 left.
Ward Melville was content to slow the game down at that point, and its patience was rewarded when Eddie Munoz delivered his own unassisted goal on a dodge down the left side with 3:42 left. But the Bulls turned up the heat when Burns made another dazzling dodge to score with 2:34 left and regained possession with 1:48 left.
Burns was wide on two shots from the perimeter, as Ward Melville’s defense tightened in front of goalie Perry Cassidy (12 saves) and the Patriots got the ball back with 47 seconds left. In the final seconds, it was Pallonetti who was tasked with running out the clock. After a timeout, he made a daring cut-back move to create enough space before passing to Jack Purdy, who kept the ball until the final horn.
“He does not play like a sophomore,” Patriots coach Jay Negus said of Pallonetti. “He plays like a senior. He’s got great eyes, a great shot and plays much bigger than he is. We knew they’d double-team him [after the timeout] but he was still able to run around. You saw his speed.”
He was a dodge charger all game long.