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Syosset defeats defending state champ Massapequa to win Class A crown

Syosset captains celebrate after receiving their Nassau Class

Syosset captains celebrate after receiving their Nassau Class A plaque after defeating Massapequa in the Nassau Class A championship game at Hofstra University in Hempstead on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Credit: Steven Ryan

One imperfection in April led to one perfect game in May.

"We've been looking forward to this one since that loss," Syosset defenseman E.J. Aronson said.

"We played a little scared in our first game. we played with confidence," attack Alex Concannon said.

A brilliant combination of an offense that was sharing and a defense that was wearing drove Syosset to a 17-8 victory over defending state champion Massapequa Tuesday night in the Nassau Class A championship game before a crowd of more than 2,000 fans at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.

In knocking off the team ranked No. 1 in New York and No. 2 in the nation, Syosset ended the Chiefs' winning streak at 34 games. It included a 7-6 overtime thriller over the Braves on April 24.

"As a coach, no, I didn't expect a perfect game," Syosset coach John Calabria said. "But our offense and defense were clicking and our goalie [Jonathan Klobus] shut them down when we needed to in the second half. Beating a program like Massapequa is special."

In the first meeting against Massapequa, Syosset lost a two-goal lead in the third quarter, so Concannon -- who had four goals and four assists -- was wary of his team's 8-6 halftime lead Tuesday night. "We knew we had to keep pushing and pushing. We had to keep our foot on the gas," said the Johns Hopkins-bound Concannon.

"He's a fifth-year starter and that's one of the best games he's ever played," Calabria said.

Syosset (17-1) had nine other goal-scorers, with Lucas Cotler contributing three goals and an assist, and will face the winner of Wednesday's Suffolk A title game between Smithtown East and Ward Melville in the Long Island Class A championship game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Stony Brook University.

Massapequa, which got three goals each from Nick Yevoli and Carter Hawthorne, finished 17-1.

"It's the end of a great run by our seniors," coach Tim Radomski said. "What a career they had -- 38-3 in three years with a Long Island and a state championship last year. Sometimes you run into a buzzsaw, and Syosset was a buzzsaw tonight."

Both teams were sharp in the first quarter, in which Concannon made a dazzling dodge to score with seven seconds left and give Syosset a 4-3 lead. The Chiefs increased the margin to 8-4, but Massapequa scored two goals in the final 1:23 -- by Nick Yevoli and Carter Hawthorne -- to draw close at the half.

With Syosset leading 10-7, Massapequa applied some pressure, but Klobus made two of his 10 saves on consecutive point-blank shots. That seemed to re-ignite the Braves' offense. Syosset went on a game-clinching 7-0 run, including two goals each by Cotler and Mike Hatzopoulos plus a goal and two assists by Concannon.

"We knew we needed more in the second half," Concannon said. "I was able to play on the crease and dodge because of my teammates. Hats off to my brothers. I didn't want to lose again to Massapequa in my senior year."

Aronson led a strong defensive effort against a team that had 66 goals in its previous four games. "We got our matchups right," he said. "We wanted to force them to make passes they didn't want to make."

That strategy, like everything else Syosset tried, worked out perfectly.

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