The District 27 Grind Continues: Pine Crest “Dusts Off” Stoneman Douglas 8-6

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photos by Jeff Horwitz

Dust Ball 2019 . . . Beach Classic 2019 would work too.  These two teams already produce close games when played on the turf.  Now we can add another surface.  The field did not help last night’s game . . . we’ll just leave it at that.

These two teams are full of kids who know each other well from club play and that usually means the one on one is less effective and the team play takes over.  Stoneman’s top offensive talent Tommy Frank is not available for this stretch and that also contributed to the loss, but when the game was on the line it was the law firm of Yellin, Servoss, Lehrman & Oletsky that came through in the fourth period for PC.  Both teams had chances to pull away in the game but there was a level of sloppiness not normally seen with these two programs and that kept both offenses in check.  Part of that was that both defenses were strong within their defensive areas.  The long pole play was definitely in control for much of the game.  But each team was also exhibiting a lack of concentration on the easier plays and a number of passes went awry when there was no real pressure on them.

But PC probably had a little more to prove going into this one.  In 2018 it was Stoneman taking the OT win in the district final after Pine Crest easily won the regular season.  In 2017 Stoneman took the regular season by two and the district final by one and in 2016 Stoneman won both games easily and this was one that the PC seniors probably wanted to reverse.

It was really 3 distinct games last night; the first 18 minutes going PC’s way, and Stoneman reversing the next 18 minutes, with PC dominating the finish of the game on the scoreboard, as PC’s goalie, Christian Garvin, came up big in the 4th.  The District is not the same as the last few seasons.  Winning the district this year might be more important since Calvary Christian is vastly improved and it looks like a 3-dog race this year with Cardinal Gibbons likely to finish 4th.  The 1-4 matchup might well prove to be the winning formula this year and last night’s game gives PC the inside track.  Stoneman travels to Calvary on April 4th and PC hosts Calvary on March 26th.  Far more important games this year to come.

PC’s Matthew Yellin opened the scoring at 7:33 on the EMO as Colin Servoss found him low middle from the low right wing for the right hand low shot.  The duo repeated the scoring with 33 seconds left as the quick restart on the over and back found SD’s defense short, with Servoss going down the right wing and finding the trailing Yellin all alone in the middle for the clean breakaway and 2-0 after the first.

SD got on the board at 10:46, taking advantage of a turnover at midfield, with Logan Kelly going down the right wing and finding Aidan Dion on the left side with the skip pass for a step down into a partly open net for 2-1.  Josh Lehrman answered twice in a minute to push it to 4-1. At 7:56 he face dodged the middle, getting to the cage for the right hand high shot and at 7:17 he finished off the pass by Jeremy Oletsky on right wing as he cut left alley.  With 2:04 left SD pulled it to 4-2 as Ryan Kavanaugh worked the left wing and drifted in to fire the right hand bounce shot, and that was followed by long pole Bryce Nabridge taking possession on a turnover in the last seconds and netting a 15-yard low to send it to the half at 4-3 PC.

The teams traded possessions in the 3rd until SD regained the lead with two goals in less than a minute.  With 5:10 left it was Kavanaugh tying it up, taking the Dustin Neville feed up top from the right wing and his step down finished low, with SD drawing a penalty on top.  On the ensuing EMO it was Nick DiBietto taking the Neville feed in the same scenario with 4:17 to go for their first lead of the game.  That did not hold up as PC took advantage of a delayed penalty call and tied it up with 1:23 to go as Yellin this time found Servoss on the left wing for the left hand shot to the top far corner and we entered the 4th tied at 5 each.

EMO situations dominated the fourth and PC took the lead back with 8:30 to go as SD’s defense of the 6-4 opportunity got stretched and Yellin was all alone in front, with Servoss finding him from low left for the easy putaway.  Then at 7:12 a bad turnover by a short-handed PC on the clear allowed Kelly to drift in on the left wing and eventually face dodge to the goal for the EMO tally to tie it at 6.  But 45 seconds later PC regained the lead for good on that same EMO with Oletsky firing a long-range shot from up top for what was the game winner.  Oletsky finished off the scoring with the insurance goal as Lehrman found him in stride on the left wing after a turnover on a clear and Oletsky had a clear path to goal for the 8-6 final, with PC being able to take time off the clock late.

We’ll see if we get the rematch later this year.

Stoneman is back in action on Friday, traveling to Orlando for Lake Highland Prep and Pine Crest travels to Miami for the Thursday night game with Columbus.

Team Statistics

Faceoffs:  SD 11-6

Shots:  SD 23-19

Shots on Goal:  SD 15-13

Turnovers:  SD 28-20

Penalties:  PC 5-4

Individual Statistics


Matthew Yellin  3G/1A

Josh Lehrman and Jeremy Oletsky with 2G/1A each

Colin Servoss  1G/3A

Christian Garvin with 9 saves


Ryan Kavanaugh  2G

Logan Kelly  1G/1A

Aidan Dion, Bryce Nabridge and Nick DiBitetto with 1G each

Dustin Neville  2A

Eric Landess with 5 saves

Thanks to Coach Harris and Coach Burton for talking to me before and after the game