WHITE PLAINS – Circumstances really do change in the blink of an eye.
Overtime seemed a certainty until Griffin Shiland calmly scooped up a rebound on the edge of the crease with 6.2 seconds to play and quickly scored to give Lakeland/Panas a stunning 11-10 win over Mamaroneck in the Section 1 Class A championship on Wednesday at White Plains High School.
The entire sequence after Sean Makar got off a desperation shot was a blur.
“Oh, my goodness,” the breathless junior long stick midfielder said. “I didn’t even know it went in until I took a few steps back and saw the ball. That’s something I could only dream of, scoring the game-winner in a sectional championship.”
Right place. Right time.
Emmett Fay knotted the score 22 seconds earlier in transition, but Rebels faceoff guru Nick Vazquez gave his teammates possession.
“It wasn’t something we drew up,” Lakeland/Panas coach Jim Lindsay said. “You have to give it to Mamaroneck and all of the other teams we played in sectionals. They all did a good job of getting back on defense and taking away our transition. Griffin just made a play there.”
Vazquez won the last faceoff, too, locking up the second title in three years for the Rebels, who play the Section 2 champ, Niskayuna or Shenendehowa, on Wednesday at Yorktown.
The moment will undoubtedly be relived for years to come.
“I didn’t even see what happened,” said Vazquez, who won 15 faceoffs and was named offensive MVP. “I did hear the roar of the crowd and looked back to see Griffin celebrating.”
The defending champs were a tough out.
Mamaroneck knotted the score 7-7 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter when Chris Conley buzzed the crease, unleashing a sneaky flip. JoJo Janavey and Makar answered.
It was tense.
A big save by Tigers goalie Jack Dente resulted in a Fay goal at the other end, then Eric Greenberg pushed in and tied matters, 9-9, with 3:44 to go. Drew Thompson had Lakeland/Panas in front until Fay scored with 28 seconds remaining.
“That was demoralizing,” Shiland said. “I was thinking about overtime at that point. We had some time left, so give Nick credit for winning the faceoff and give Sean credit for going topside and getting a shot off. We all worked really hard for this.
Player of the game: Shiland was in the right place at the right time more than once. He scored the opening goal of the game and set up Janavey in the fourth quarter. The game’s defensive MVP also shadowed Tigers standout Eric Greenberg, limiting him to a pair of goals.
Turning point: It came down to a pair of faceoffs in the last 6.2 seconds and Vazquez owned them both.
Stat line: Thompson had three goals to lead the Rebels. Makar and Kyle Castner each scored twice and Kevin Prunty finished with a goal and three assists. Vazquez won 18 faceoffs and Kevin Dyckman made 13 saves for L/P. … Fay netted four goals for Mamaroneck. Alex Ewald added three goals and one assist. Conley finished with one goal and three assists.
Quotable: “We just made one more play than they did,” Lindsay said.