Most times, Huntington goalie Sam Bergman doesn’t concern himself with his counterpart standing in the cage across the field. He’s got other things on his mind, such as trying to stop shooters.
But Thursday was a little different. Bergman, a junior, knew exactly who the other goalie was — Hofstra-bound senior Jacob Coleman of host Riverhead. And he knew exactly what to expect. “I’ve played on the same (summer) team with Jacob,’’ Bergman said. “I know what kind of goalie he is.”
The kind who doesn’t give much and is especially tough in one-on-one scenarios at the crease. Which meant Bergman knew he had to be on top of his game as well. He answered the challenge, making 16 saves as Huntington (5-9) ended its season with an uplifting 8-7 victory over playoff-bound Riverhead in Suffolk I.
Coleman made 13 saves, seven in the first quarter, including a couple from point-blank range.
“We got great looks, but Jacob is one of the best goalies in Suffolk County,” Huntington coach Kevin Travis said. “I knew it was just a matter of time before we buried a few.”
The Blue Wave (9-5), playing on its new turf field, led 5-3 late in the third quarter, and the way Coleman was playing, appeared to be in control. But the game turned when two Riverhead players were penalized on the same play. The Blue Devils capitalized when Marquette-bound Garrett Moya ripped one home from the right wing for a two-man-up goal. Jared Leake followed 47 seconds later with his third of the game to tie it, and Matt Gelb scored twice in 50 seconds, both on feeds from Moya, to give Huntington a 7-5 lead entering the fourth.
Bergman did his best work early in the fourth quarter with his team down a man for two minutes on a non-releasable penalty. He came up with two big saves, one from right in front, to keep it a two-goal game. Gelb completed his own hat trick with 1:15 left, and the Blue Devils appeared home free.
But Stony Brook-bound faceoff specialist John Ehlers, who won 14 of 15 draws, helped Riverhead score twice in five seconds — on goals by Dalton Lucas (his third) and Connor Grauer (his second), off Ehlers’ feed — to add some excitement to the final minute. Grauer’s goal came with 41 seconds left and Ehlers took the next faceoff, too, but Huntington forced a turnover and held on.
“Our zone defense is designed to give up shots from far out that I can save,” Bergman said. “We tried to take away the close-in passes. It was nice to play against someone of Jacob’s magnitude. It was a nice, friendly competition.”