There are saves that go as a tally in a column, and there are saves that define the word. Jared Paquette proved the difference Friday.
With 2:25 remaining in the game, Paquette saved a shot from point-blank range to maintain a two-goal lead in host No. 4 West Islip’s 7-5 victory over No. 5 Bay Shore in a Suffolk Division I boys lacrosse quarterfinal.
“It’s tough staying focused in the game, but it’s especially important at the end when we are only up one or two,” said Paquette, who finished with nine saves. “And staying focused is key. I try to calm myself down -- I get a little excited at times -- but that was a good one.”
The save helped catapult West Islip to its first Suffolk Division I semifinal since 2014 and a matchup with host No. 1 Smithtown West Thursday at 4 p.m.
West Islip (13-4) opened a 1-0 lead with a goal from Al Cenci, but Bay Shore (13-5) scored the final three goals of the half, taking a 3-1 advantage. The Lions responded with four goals in the third quarter, including Dylan Pape winning a faceoff and storming downfield to score. The goal gave West Islip a 4-3 advantage with 3:05 remaining in the period, six seconds after Mark Regan scored to tie it at 3.
“I saw I had it quick,” said Pape, who finished with a goal and two assists. “And I saw the point guy didn’t really respect and slide all the way, so I just took it all the way.”
Chris Sparks added three goals for West Islip, including scoring twice in the third quarter.
“He’s an old-fashioned crease attackman,” coach Tom Corcoran said. “He’s not asked to carry the ball a lot. He’s asked to put the ball in the net and that’s what he does.”
But the defense was the key for West Islip Friday, rarely providing open looks or attacking opportunities for Bay Shore.
“They are physical and they understand it all starts with them,” Corcoran said. “And when our offense struggles or other parts of our games struggles, they know they can not struggle because they are the backbone of this team.”
But when one slips past the back line, it’s comforting knowing Paquette is there.
“He’s ridiculous,” said defenseman Mike Alexander said. “We expect him to make the saves that most goalies dream of making and it’s amazing because he does it game in and game out. It helps our defense knowing if we do get beat once in a while, he’s there to make the save.”