With his quickness, elusiveness and slick stick skills, Joe Tierney normally has no trouble turning good looks into good scoring chances. But with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter yesterday, the Bethpage senior attack was forced into a no-look scenario.
“I didn’t think I had an angle to turn and shoot,” Tierney said of his spectacular over-the-shoulder shot with 5:17 left that proved to be the game-winner in Bethpage’s 11-10 victory over first-place host Lynbrook in a Nassau B-II game at Marion Street School. “I do it over and over in practice, but it hasn’t always worked. It’s not a smart decision unless it’s the right situation. I thought I had the opportunity.”
The play started with the ball in the hands of Mike Carrello, who beat his man with a dodge, drawing Lynbrook’s Zach Barrett, one of the top defenseman on Long Island, away from Tierney, who then scored his sixth goal of the game and 42nd of the season.
“He understands the game and he understands that on some days he’s the goal-scorer and some days he’s the assist guy,” Bethpage coach Roddy McCoy said of Tierney, who also has 42 assists and is tied with Wantagh’s Dylan Beckwith for the Nassau County scoring lead. “Today he was the goal-scorer.”
But despite Tierney’s terrific performance, Bethpage (5-3) could not relax. Not only was it concerned about Lynbrook’s dynamic scoring duo of Ryan Candel and Zach LoCicero, who each scored three goals, but they had seen late leads evaporate recently in agonizing fashion.
Last Saturday, a moving-pick violation allowed Wantagh to gain possession with five seconds left and score the tying goal at the horn after a desperation heave the length of the field. The Golden Eagles lost that one in overtime and suffered a similar fate on May 4, when they let a three-goal lead slip away in the final two minutes against North Shore and again lost in OT.
“The Wantagh game was the most heartbreaking game I’ve ever played in,” Tierney said. “That’s why this was such a big win. We clinched the No. 4 seed [for next week’s playoffs].”
There were tense moments, of course, especially after Barrett won the faceoff after Tierney’s flashy goal. But Bethpage got the ball back and Angelo Micciche, Carrello, Brian Seiter and Tierney took turns running with the ball against stick-checking, double-teaming Owls in the closing minutes. “I tried to go behind the cage and move side to side to get open,” Tierney said. “They have great defenders and I didn’t think we could run out the clock.”
But this time, the Golden Eagles were able to do just that. It was a good look.