For Mount Sinai, sometimes the best offense comes from its defense.
That was the case Tuesday when Johns Hopkins-bound senior defenseman Lucas Capobianco-Hogan delivered two goals and junior goalie Matt Sageder scored on an exciting length-of-the-field dash as the Mustangs defeated host Eastport-South Manor, 6-2, in a key Suffolk II game.
“We’ll use Lucas everywhere we can,” coach Harold Drumm said after his Mustangs (6-1) handed ESM its first league loss after five victories. “We put him at wing on faceoffs. Sometimes he takes faceoffs. He plays in our extra-man offense.”
Capobianco-Hogan scored both of his goals in man-up situations. He put Mount Sinai ahead 2-1 on a feed from Jason Shlonsky with 5:30 left in the second quarter. Then he stepped into an unassisted blast from the top of the slot to put the Mustangs ahead for good, 3-2, a minute before halftime. Capobianco-Hogan has mastered the art of bedeviling goalies with his long stick, having already scored six goals this season, a high total for a defenseman.
“I love being the guy to step up with whatever we need,” Capobianco-Hogan said. “It’s tough on a goalie to handle a shot that’s coming from a long stick that’s six feet off the ground. That’s a huge advantage for me.”
Sageder took advantage of a defensive lapse to score with 8:51 left in the third quarter. While attempting to clear after one of his 10 saves, Sageder loped up the middle of the field, looking for an open teammate. No one from Eastport-South Manor picked him up, so he kept motoring, right down the alley to score his first high school goal.
“I did it against Bayport-Blue Point, but missed the shot,” Sageder said. “This felt really good and it brought us a lot of energy.”
There was no shortage of energy on defense the entire game. Capobianco-Hogan anchored a unit that shut out the Sharks in the second half. “We played our defense,” he said. “We forced them to do what we wanted.”
According to Sageder, that meant limiting ESM to shots he could handle. “Our system on defense really helps me,” Sageder said. “It gives me perimeter shots that I can pick up easily.”
The Mustangs average only 8.5 goals per game, so Tuesday’s boost from the defenders was welcome. “Be patient and be smart on offense. That’s what we do,” Drumm said. “We’re not comfortable playing helter-skelter.”
Unless it’s their goalie’s mad dash.