Garrett Gibbons was animated as he pointed to the bleachers at Massapequa. “I sat in those stands watching Massapequa play Farmingdale when I was a kid. It’s all about the rivalry with Farmingdale,” the energetic junior midfielder said. “That’s the game you wanted to play in.”
In the latest chapter of the so-called Backyard Brawl between the neighboring communities, Gibbons had two goals and two assists and Timmy Ley netted three goals to lead Massapequa to a 7-4 victory over Farmingdale on Friday in a duel for the top spot in Nassau A.
“This rivalry is one for the ages,” said Ley, who broke a tie at 4 in the first minute of the fourth quarter with a quick-stick shot in front on Colin Gleason’s pinpoint pass.
“Colin did a great job of finding me,” he said.
It took the Chiefs (3-0) half the game to find their offense. The Dalers (2-1) led 4-2 at halftime, closing out both periods with last-second goals. Jack Cavaioli scored unassisted after a dazzling split dodge with 1.5 seconds left in the first and defenseman Kevin McCormick finished in transition on a pass from Rich Hickis with 4.6 seconds left in the second.
“We had to wake up and fight through a bad first half,” Ley said. “It was annoying at times, but we finally started executing our assignments.”
Gibbons said the Chiefs didn’t match the Dalers’ intensity in the first half. “They came out with energy and we were dragging,” he said. “It was a gut check for all of us.”
All except faceoff specialist Angelo Petrakis, who was nearly perfect, winning 12 of 13 draws and not allowing Massapequa to fall too far behind. Those extra possessions paid off in the second half. After Ley gave the Chiefs the lead, Gibbons scored in front off a loose-ball scramble with 6:13 left for a 6-4 edge.
“We had just gotten the lead and we had to keep our foot on their throats,” Gibbons said. “You have to do that, especially against a good team like Farmingdale. Angelo won the faceoff to give us the ball. I just picked it up and shot it quick. I think that was a momentum-changer.”
Petrakis’ proficiency on faceoffs and a solid game by goaltender Mike Venezia (eight saves) allowed Massapequa to control play in the second half and force Farmingdale to pull its goalie and double-team to try to regain possession. That tactic failed as Eamon Hall scored into an empty net with 2:15 left.
“We didn’t play well in the first half and we let them know about it,” Massapequa coach Tim Radomski said. “But with a faceoff guy like Angelo, you’re never out of the game. We knew it was only a matter of time.”