ALBANY — It took so much for Garden City to force overtime and the Trojans did so much to get that far. That’s why it hurt so much when their hearts were broken for the last time in 2017.
“Our kids have heart and courage,” a red-faced, teary-eyed coach Steve Finnell said after Dom Cioffi scored in front off a feed from Hunter Embry 1:19 into the second overtime to give Yorktown a 5-4 victory over Garden City on Wednesday in a state Class B semifinal at the University at Albany.
Garden City finished 16-4 and for half the game, overtime didn’t seem possible. The Trojans trailed 4-1 at the half and were outshot 17-10, including 11-2 at one point late in the first quarter. “Teddy Dolan kept us in the game in the first half,” Finnell said of his goalie.
Dolan had some help in the first half, when the Huskers (17-4) hit four pipes. But he needed no assistance when he made a spectacular game-changing save early in the fourth quarter. With Garden City trailing 4-2, Yorktown’s Steven Veteri stole the ball near the back line and broke in alone on Dolan. He shifted from high to low; Dolan went with him. Veteri then went to his backhand and somehow Dolan (seven saves) made the stop and started the fast break. A three-goal deficit, the way Yorktown was playing defense, likely would have been insurmountable.
Instead, on the ensuing possession, J.P. Basile took a pass from Luke Keating and scored with 9:11 left to make it 4-3. A little more than a minute later, the re-energized Trojans tied it when Basile converted another feed from Keating (one goal, three assists) with a terrific no-look laser.
Then a game that was a defensive struggle turned even more tense as both teams valued possession and worked for that elusive perfect shot. The Huskers, who will face Victor in Saturday’s state Class B title game in Rochester, had the ball for nearly four minutes and did not manage a single shot on goal.
The Trojans finally got it back and called timeout with 2:51 left. “Our defense was tired, understandably so,” Finnell said. “We wanted to take the last shot. We had some good looks but we couldn’t connect on a clean shot.”
Neither team managed a shot on goal in either overtime until Yorktown’s game-winner. “It’s a shame someone had to lose a game like this,” Finnell said.