Stevie Finnell gets winner in fourth OT for Garden City
Stevie Finnell knew he should’ve won the game earlier and was admittedly angry when his shots missed in overtime.
It took four shots in four overtimes, but the senior midfielder bounced one into the net for Garden City. The Trojans won 8-7 in non-league against Ward Melville on the road.
“Definitely relief,” Finnell said. “We were going to blow the game if we lost that. We were up 6-3, 7-4. It was kind of like a couple weeks ago, we were 6-3, 7-4 against [Mount] Sinai [but] lost 9-8. So [we] didn’t want to repeat that.”
Finnell, who finished with four goals, had put Garden City (2-1) up 7-3 in the fourth quarter. He caught the ball, switched left to right and fired a shot through traffic with 6:52 remaining in the game. Less than a minute later, Trevor Murray answered with a goal for Ward Melville (2-2).
In the ensuing minutes, it seemed as if Garden City would end the game in regulation. However, the Patriots buried three unassisted goals in 1:19, including a game-tying score by Brody Morgan with no time left on the clock.
“[Ward Melville] never quit,” head coach Steve Finnell said. “I was concerned because their face-off guys are so good that [they] might not be out of it. They chipped away and tied it with no time left. That was a legit goal.”
Garden City already has a slow, methodical offense, but that was amplified in the overtime periods. Each shot meant so much more, especially since each side would get only a few chances per four-minute period.
It put a lot more pressure on the defense. Goalkeeper Denis Fargione allowed just two goals through three quarters before giving up five in the fourth. He made 23 saves.
“We just kept asking our guys to get one more stop,” coach Finnell said. “I thought Denis Fargione made some great saves. Cole Webber was fantastic in the middle of the field, a lot of big ground balls for us.”
Webber, a long stick midfielder, and the defense forced turnovers and seemed to make Ward Melville uncomfortable at times, which is a credit to the team’s preparation.
“I know, for us, we do a lot of work on other teams,” Webber said. “I don’t know how other teams prepare for us. I think we got a lot of good guys on the defensive end, so that could be a little scary.”