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Resourceful John Sidorski’s goal in final minute lifts East Islip

The East Islip boys lacrosse team jumps on

The East Islip boys lacrosse team jumps on goalie Anthony Palma after their team's 9-8 win over Comsewogue as time expires on Wednesday at Comsewogue. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

So much for the play call made during the timeout.

“What we called wouldn’t work against their zone,” East Islip’s John Sidorski said.

So Sidorski, Suffolk County’s third leading scorer, took matters into his own stick. He wasn’t being insubordinate; he was being resourceful. “He changed the play on his own. He read the change in the defense,” East Islip coach Chad Spruyt said of his call with 1:52 remaining.

Sidorski directed his teammates to reset and move the ball against the zone, until he got open at the top of the slot for a bouncer that became an unassisted, winning goal with 47 seconds left in No. 3 East Islip’s thrilling 8-7 victory over host No. 2 Comsewogue Tuesday afternoon in a Suffolk Class B semifinal. The Redmen will face No. 1 Harborfields at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Islip.

“We called a play for me to dodge left but when I saw the zone, I pulled it out and we moved the ball,” said Sidorski, who scored four goals and had two assists to bring his season’s total to 102 points. “The defense over-committed and I shot a bouncer. I was trying to shoot it low because he stopped the last two shots high.”

Comsewogue junior goalie Tommy Heller excelled in defeat with nine saves, including two spectacular stops after the Warriors had erased a 6-1 first-half deficit to tie it at 7 on Richie Lacalandra’s third goal with 7:10 remaining. Heller’s most dramatic save came with 3:52 left when East Islip got a rare transition opportunity and Tim McCann, who already had scored twice, was robbed high-to-high at the doorstep.

“Their goalie stood on his head,” Spruyt said. “We could’ve had 12 goals, at least. He kept them in the game.”

But even Heller wilted a bit in the first half when the Redmen (13-5) scored six straight goals to grab a 6-1 lead. Sidorski and McCann scored twice each during the surge.

But the Warriors (10-6) came all the way back. Lacalandra scored late in the second quarter to make it 6-2 at halftime and capped a 3-0 third quarter with a turnaround shot in the high slot off a feed from Anthony Passarella.

Comsewogue began the fourth quarter by killing off a two-man down situation for 57 seconds, but moments later, Sidorski took a pass from Rob Kreusch and scored for a 7-5 edge with 10:46 left. The Warriors weren’t done, however.

Sean Kennedy scored his third on a blast from the right wing (on Sean Power’s third assist) and two minutes later, Lacalandra buried one from the left wing for the equalizer.

Anthony Palma came off the bench to make two late saves, setting the stage for Sidorski to improvise and save the day.

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