WHITE PLAINS – Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
On second thought, Brendan Johnson isn’t a superhero.
The way he politely overpowers even the strongest opponents game after game makes the most prolific goal-scorer in White Plains history more like Popeye with a lacrosse stick.
“He’s a monster,” Tigers coach Mark Armogida said.
Johnson netted six more on Tuesday, leading White Plains to an easy 14-4 win over Nanuet, and the most impressive moment didn’t even produce a shot on goal. When a second-quarter play broke down, the senior attackman rumbled into the defense, absorbing contact from six different players without putting the ball on the ground.
How do you stop that kind of determination?
“I haven’t really gone against anyone who dodges downhill like that,” said Golden Knights long pole Aedan Lombardo, who’s heading to Yale to play at the next level. “He’s a power runner. It’s something I wasn’t expecting and it took me a quarter to adjust.”
Johnson scored three goals in the first eight minutes of play, giving White Plains a 3-1 lead after one quarter.
All three of the goals came on the move, since Lombardo is a bigger specimen.
“It’s complicated because so much of my game is built on size, and when you have a gargantuan long pole who’s going to Yale, you kind of have to change things up,” said Johnson, who leads Section 1 with 70 goals. “You have to settle for outside shots. You have to be quicker. It was an interesting experience. He’s definitely one of the better poles I’ve been against this year.”
“He’s unlike anything White Plains has seen in years,” senior attackman Liam Broderick said. “I’ve seen him bench 250-plus. Growing up with him, Brendan has always been the big, strong guy in the group. He used to be a defenseman. I think it’s probably where he got his style of play, being a long pole, having to push away the attackmen. And now that he’s moved up to attack, he’s kind of taken that ability to short stick and he’s going all the way to the goal, which is pretty much what he does best.”
Miles Tillman scored on a one-man fast break early in the second quarter before Johnson scooped up a bad pass and went strong to the crease for a goal to make it a four-goal cushion. Broderick and Tommy Avery made it a 7-1 lead at the half.
Nanuet attempted to make a comeback after the break, scoring the first two goals of the second half, but Johnson ended the run in a matter of seconds.
Player of the game: Seriously? It has to be Johnson, who also had one assist.
Turning point: The lead grew in a hurry after the first quarter when the Tigers began to get other scorers like Tillman, Avery and Broderick involved.
Stat line: Julio Cruz went 14-9 on faceoffs against Nanuet standout Brian McGreevy. … Broderick had four goals and two assists for White Plains (10-6). Avery scored twice and Tillman added one goal and two assists. … Tommy Ryan, Brandon Fernandez, Billy Holland and Lombardo each scored for the Golden Knights (9-7). Tom Fay had two assists.
Quotable: “Every team has a couple of bad games in a season and I think this was one of ours,” Lombardo said. “We’ve been playing a lot of teams real tough lately. There were a couple of sad one-goal and two-goal losses, and this is one of those games we have to move past.”