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Gerard Arceri's 12 faceoff wins key Smithtown East victory

Smithtown East's Gerard Arceri wins the face-off against

Smithtown East's Gerard Arceri wins the face-off against Smithtown West's Danny Varello in the first half of a game on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at Smithtown West. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Forget Facebook. Gerard Arceri of Smithtown East and Danny Varello of Smithtown West are Faceoff Friends.

"We train together, we work out together. He's one of the best I've ever faced and I knew that whoever would win the faceoffs would win the game with two high-powered offenses," Arceri said.

East was best Wednesday in the battle of the Bulls. Arceri won 12 of 19 faceoffs, including three in a row during a stretch when Smithtown East scored four goals in 22 seconds that triggered a 14-7 victory in a key Suffolk League II game. East improved to 9-0 while West fell to 7-2.

"If I win the faceoff cleanly, I'll pass it to [Brian] Willetts and he has a cannon. Or I'll pass it to [Dan] Rooney and he can hit from anywhere," Arceri said. "We have so many Division I prospects that will get their goals."

Four Smithtown East players scored three goals each -- Willetts and Rooney, who each added two assists, plus Sean Barry and Connor Desimone.

"It's fun to be a part of an offense like this," Willetts said. "We have a lot of kids with great stick skills. Our motto this year is 'Everyone Eats' and everyone is hungry. Gerry starts it up by getting us possessions. We feed the ball and everyone is happy."

After Desimone's unassisted blast gave Smithtown East a 5-2 lead with 3:42 left in the second quarter, Arceri took over. He won the next faceoff cleanly and fed John Danniggelis, who found Barry at the crease. That one took seven seconds.

Arceri again won the draw and this time whipped it to Willetts, who fed Rooney in front. That tally took nine seconds.

Arceri needed only six seconds to score on the next possession, winning the faceoff so slickly that he simply raced down the alley for an unassisted goal that made it 8-2 with 3:20 left in the first half.

"He's taken a step forward from last year with his ability to not just win at the 'X' but to distribute the ball," Smithtown East coach Jason Lambert said. "As Gerry goes, we go. It starts and ends with him."

Arceri sets the table so everybody can eat. "His skill impacts the whole team," Lambert said. "The defense can rest. The goalie can rest. When we share the ball and look for each other, we do nice things. But Gerry is the main cog in our engine."

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