By Mike Abelson
NEEDHAM – An early season ISL showdown between St. Sebastian’s and Nobles started with a mumble, grew into a roar, and ended with a laser from an Arrow.
St. Sebastian’s Mikey Connolly rifled home a shot with 46 seconds left to give the Arrows a thrilling, 9-8, triumph over the Bulldogs. Sebs rebounded from an early, 5-1 deficit, scoring five goals over the final six minutes to seal the comeback.
The winner came when Vaughn Gendron rolled off from the goalie’s right and tossed a skip pass across the box to Connolly, who cradled once and rifled the shot home. Connolly had a pair of goals and Gendron had a game-high three assists.
“Coach gave us a really good play to run,” Connolly said. “All game I noticed there was a little room in their zone so I creeped up the back side, and Vaughn made a great pass.”
After an opening 36 minutes that went in fits and bursts the Arrows (3-0) put it all together in the final 12. It started with Angus O’Rourke. The faceoff man was dominant at X, winning 13-of-19 faceoffs and generated, or scooped, a handful of ground . Sebs won the ground ball battle by a 23-17 margin.
Parker Joyce got the comeback going midway through the fourth with his second goal of the game. Gabe Maxwell scored 15 seconds later to tie the game at six. Jack Frisoli scored about two minutes later, and O’Rourke put one on the highlight reel when he won the ensuing faceoff, scooped the ground ball, and took a circuitous route before scoring himself. In total, nine Arrows got on the score sheet.
“It takes a lot of pressure off me and a lot of other guys as well knowing you can move it and other guys can dodge and score,” Gendron said. “It’s awesome having so many weapons. Defenses struggle to know who to lock down.”
Nobles (1-3) opened the game with a fury, reeling off four straight to take a 5-1 lead early in the second quarter. Hayden Cheek had two goals and an assist during the opening run. His linemate on attack, Danny Jacobs, had two assists and a goal during the run as well.
In the middle two quarters Nobles began turning the ball over. With O’Rourke’s dominance at the X, the additional possessions allowed Sebs to get back into the game. Nobles outshot the Arrows, 16-13, in the first half but were outshot, 19-8, in the final 24 minutes. Nobles was held without a shot for the first 8:38 of the fourth quarter.
“We knew it was going to be a battle; couldn’t relax after we got up in the first quarter,” Nobles coach Matt Rowley said. “It’s hard to be perfect. We got a short a bench. Kids have to play a lot; that’s how the game goes. It’s a game of runs. We made a couple, they made a couple, and we just couldn’t finish our last run there.”
George Loring and Thomas Bono each had a goal and an assist for the Bulldogs while goalie Teddy Strezetelski had 13 saves in the cage.