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Jack Keogh scores winner to lift Manhasset in thriller

Manhasset's John Keogh (11) fights off the stick

Manhasset's John Keogh (11) fights off the stick check from Smithtown's Dan Caroussos (14) to get off the shot for the winning goal in the second half of a game on Thursday, April 9, 2015 in Smithtown. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

It was a game of streaks, not scripts . . . until the end.

Manhasset scored the first three goals; host Smithtown West retaliated with an impressive eight-goal run. The Indians countered with a startling six-goal burst; the Bulls answered with the equalizer.

With 1:32 left and his team unable to maneuver for a good shot despite controlling the ball for more than two minutes, Manhasset coach Bill Cherry called a timeout and did what coaches do: He scripted a play.

"Just like we drew it up," the venerable coach said, grinning broadly about what happened next.

Jack Keogh, using a pick set by James Thomas, got free and fired a low shot that found the back of the net with 1:16 left to give Manhasset a thrilling 10-9 non-league victory Thursday night.

The Class B Indians improved to 3-2 while the Class A Bulls suffered their first loss and fell to 5-1.

"It was a great pick by J.T. and I put the ball low, just like coach always tells me to do," said Keogh, who netted two goals and an assist. "We drew it up just like that and it was a perfect pick."

Cherry called it "a down play. We wanted to set the pick low for either Jack or [Matt] Gavin because both of them can shoot and they both are finishers."

Gavin led the Indians with two goals and three assists and Thomas Duran had a hat trick.

Manhasset considered itself fortunate to be in a position to win, considering it trailed 8-3 with 6:08 left in the third period and lost 21 of 22 faceoffs to Smithtown West's Syracuse-bound specialist Danny Varello.

"We lost our focus for a while and we weren't taking good shots," Cherry said. "And their faceoff kid was awesome. He kept the ball away from us."

But eventually, Manhasset's defense stiffened and it made the most of its possessions. Gavin cleverly set up Thomas for consecutive goals, the second on a man-up situation in the first minute of the fourth quarter that cut the deficit to 8-7. Gavin made it three straight assists with a pass to Dunn that tied it with nine minutes to go.

Manhasset kept applying pressure and took the lead on Gavin's solo dodge with 5:58 left. But Smithtown West's Danny Riley scored his second of the game to tie it with 3:37 left.

Even though Varello won the ensuing faceoff, Manhasset forced a turnover, gained possession and, eventually, flipped the script.

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