Bonackers split pair of one-goal games

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The East Hampton boys lacrosse team was on both ends of one-goal games last week, falling to rival Westhampton Beach 7-6 at home on April 15 before bouncing back with a 5-4 win at home over Bayport/Blue Point on Friday.

The Bonackers improved to 3-3 in Division II, 4-3 overall with the win against the Phantoms.

East Hampton emerged with the victory by scoring a goal in a man-down situation. The Bonackers had to play shorthanded after a defensive slashing penalty was issued with the score tied at 4-4 late in the fourth quarter. East Hampton managed to clear the ball, and Ryan Shaw picked it up, dodged two defenders and scored unassisted from 6 yards out.

“We were just trying to kill the penalty,” East Hampton head coach Mike Vitulli said. “But Ryan had a great individual effort.”

Vitulli added that he was pleased with the play of the defense and goalie Mark Simmons in particular for making big saves to preserve the win.

“It was a good, tough game,” Vitulli added. “We made the plays we needed to make in the fourth quarter to win.”

Shaw led East Hampton with three goals and an assist, while Matt Burns had two goals and an assist. Simmons finished with 16 saves.

Westhampton Beach used a bit of trickery to score its game-winner against the Bonackers earlier in the week. Ralph Pepe and Kevin Sabo, two of the team’s top offensive players, executed a fake flip pass up top, which left the East Hampton defenders believing that Pepe had the ball. With the defense focused on Pepe, Sabo was able to slip through and put one past Simmons.

Westhampton Beach grabbed the win with a strong fourth quarter effort, outscoring the Bonackers 3-0 in that period.

“In the fourth quarter, they were just able to make more plays than we were,” Vitulli said. “They made the little plays that made the difference at the end. I think we got a little tired in the fourth quarter and they were more physical and wore us down.”

Matt Burns led East Hampton with two goals in the loss, while Simmons made 13 saves. Tyler Brenneman had three assists as well.

The Bonackers will host Eastport South Manor tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. in what should promise to be another close game between evenly matched teams. ESM has displayed a penchant for scoring in several victories and should be a tough test for the Bonacker defense.

“We have to slow them down,” Vitulli said. “We’ve been playing in pretty tight games and we’re a young team that is fighting hard, so more often than not the games will be close. We just need to make plays in the fourth quarter.”

East Hampton will travel to Riverhead for a non-league game on Saturday at 11:30 p.m.

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