Syosset, the marquee Class A team, was stuck in a tie with South Side, a promising Class B team looking to score a season-opening upset on Syosset’s turf.
The light was fading on Wednesday, and so was time in the final quarter. The home team had pulled even with 2:28 left and now was looking for somebody to do something to finish the job. Somebody was named A.J. Alexander.
The senior attackman/midfielder scored his fourth goal with 1:45 remaining, and Syosset held on for a 15-14 win in a Conference I thrill ride.
"I tried to carry on with the team and just get a goal for my team," Alexander said. "It was a tough game."
Coach John Calabria wasn’t surprised the Cyclones, coached by his good friend and old Adelphi teammate Steve DiPietro, gave Syosset a very hard time.
"They are always tough," Calabria said. "Our games are usually a one-goal game. He’s a phenomenal coach."
Calabria, who also got four goals and four assists from Daniel Garone, thinks his team has the potential to "definitely be in it at the end." DiPietro’s team, paced by Thomas Kelly and TJ Sheehan’s four goals apiece, made a nice statement about its potential.
"I’m very proud of my kids," DiPietro said. "We haven’t played in two years. We graduated 18 seniors from our last team. … Every time we were down a few goals, we kept battling back. I think we showed a lot of character."
Andrew Meindl closed from the right side and gave South Side a 14-13 edge with 4:08 left.
But Nicolas Accardo tied it, and then Alexander untied it, beating Tommy Gentile with a right-side shot. Joey Greco made a save with about 30 seconds left to preserve the lead.
"That’s a very tough South Side team with a lot of great defensemen and people," Alexander said. "But we did what we had to do in crunch time."
Luca Accardo, Garone and Nicolas Accardo scored consecutively to give Syosset a 13-10 lead after three.
But Sheehan, Matt Melkonian and Johnjude Considine responded with goals, and it was 13-13.
"I was very proud of our guys that when a team comes back from a three-goal deficit, we were able to maintain our composure and figure out a way to win," Calabria said. "That was really incredible to see."