Over the last couple of seasons, these two powerhouses have been up there as two of the top teams in not only Suffolk County, but Long Island. Going into the season, these were the top two ranked teams in Suffolk County. This hasn’t been the typical Ward Melville season as they had a couple of tough conference losses to both Northport and Smithtown East, but in their first two playoff games, they got their mojo back. From a Smithtown West perspective, they have been smooth sailing throughout the 2019 season. They were dominant the entire season, especially in the playoffs as they steam rolled Sachem East and West Islip, two very talented teams. The first time these teams played, Smithtown West was up 8-2 at halftime, but Ward Melville attempted to make a comeback late, but Smithtown West pulled out the victory, 11-8.
Brandon Alives started the party for the Patriots by scoring the first goal from 15 yards out, but Matt Caddigan responded to tie it at one. The Ward Melville defense played out of their mind all day along, especially on this possesion where Ethan Larson would strip John Hoffman and cause a turnover, and Patrick O’Neil would pick up the ground ball and take care of the rest. O’Neil would then find Dylan Pallonetti, who made a sensational one handed grab to make it 2-1, Melville with 1:56 left in the first. Sophomore stud, Ryan Bell would then come behind the X and dunk it into the goal to tie it at 2 with 11:00 left in the second quarter. Brandon Aviles would then find Steven Germain to take a 3-2 lead from 10 yards out with 5:34 left in the second. John Hoffman would then split dodge his defender to tie the game at 3. The game would not be tied for long, as less than a minute later, Dylan Pallonetti would find Rocco Barbero in front of the crease to make it 4-3.
To start the second half, Dylan Pallonetti ripped a shot which bounced off Mike Simone, and Trey Berry would gain possession of the ball, and found Steven Germain to make it 5-3 with 10:44 left in the third. John Hoffman would find Danny Caddigan in front of the crease to cut Ward Melville’s lead down to one with 7:44 left in the third. John Hoffman would then tie the game at 5 when he swept to the middle of the field and placed the ball perfectly in the upper right hand corner with 6:39 left in the third. John Hoffman would continue to be the man for the Smithwest offense. Hoffman would then take the lead for the Bulls by going low and away to take a 6-5 lead. Smithtown West would then start to take control of this game as Matt Caddigan would find Marc Cottage cutting from the left wing to make it 7-5 with 1:22 left in the third.
All game long, Ward Melville did an amazing job causing turnovers. It would be Steven Germain’s turn to cause a turnover, and he took advantage of it by finding Patrick O’Neil runinng down the middle of the field, and O’Neil found Dylan Pallonetti for a fast break goal to put Ward Melville within one with 10:41 left in regulation. Smithtown West would then score two unanswered goals to make it 9-6, but Ward Melville would not let their season end this way. Rocco Barbero would then make it 9-7. Ward Melville were 2 men down after an unnecessary roughness and cross check call. Patrick O’Neil played one heck of a game, and he put the icing on the cake on his incredible performance when he intercepted a pass and took it coast to coast to make it 9-8 with 2:54 left. With less than a minute left, Dylan Pallonetti shot the ball and it bounced to the sideline and Spencer Frank would put the ball back in bounds, and Ward Melville would take advantage. Steven Germain would then scoop a ground ball off a batted pass in front of the crease, roll dodged and score the game tying goal to sent the game into overtime. On the last possession of the game in overtime, Smithtown West was trying to clear the ball, and Ward Melville did a fantastic job on the ride and forced a turnover, and Jack Gillen was the hero scoring the game winning goal with 1:27 left to give Ward Melville the Suffolk County Class A championship!
Ward Melville Takeaways
One of the main reasons that Ward Melville came out on top is because of the stellar play of their defense. They did a great job causing turnovers, and they created opportunities for the offense. They did an excellent job in transition, and Patrick O’Neil played one heck of a game and he did it all for the Patriots. Collin Krieg played out of his mind today finishing with 10 saves and staying strong in the goal all day long. Steven Germain has been a player that has impressed me all season. He is an extremely smart player, he’s a gamer, and he’s a do it all midfielder.
Smithtown West Takeaways
After running the table the entire 2019 season, this was a heartbreaking way for Smithtown West to end their season. Everybody thought that this was going to be the year that Smithtown West would get over the hump, but they should use this game as motivation all offseason long. Conor Calderone was unstoppable in this game, and he virtually won almost every faceoff, and Ward Melville had no answer for him. Calderone is going to be missed tremendously, and he has the potential to have a great college career. John Hoffman was the man today on offense and all throughout this season. Hoffman showed a great amount of toughness as he was on the receiving end of a big hit, and he was shaken up pretty badly, but they didn’t stop Hoffman as he stayed in the game to give his team a chance to call themselves county champions. Hoffman was a playmaker all day long, and he’s going to be a key loss for the Bulls. Mike Simone played a great game between the pipes, and he did a great job staying strong in the net. Looking forward to the 2020 season, Smithtown West will definitely be in contention to go back to the county championship. Ryan Bell, Danny Caddigan, and Mike Simone will be some of the key players next season, and Smithtown West will still be strong in 2020.