photos by Paul Kabalin
A ‘beloved’ rivalry continued last night in Jupiter as the Warriors slayed the Buccaneers for the second time this season, riding a 4-goal 90 second scoring burst in the 2nd quarter to the 13-8 win. Jupiter leveraged the faceoff battle into the extra possessions that kept Benjamin from mounting any serious rally in the 2nd half while clinically finding holes in the Benjamin defense for a number of inside goals.
The latest edition of this rivalry was played in an environment that was quite different from other renditions, as the limited attendance, combined with the cavernous stadium, carried a theatre-like feel to it, as portions of the game found the fan bases sitting quietly until the game prompted a response, mostly via a goal. This game usually draws big audiences who stay involved all game long, but the lack of a 2nd-half rally by the visitors kept a lid on the emotions. A lack of a playoff possibility also dampened things.
But that was the spectator’s problem, not the players and staffs, who showed their usual feisty approach to this one. These two teams know each so well that it becomes execution more than game plan. One team executed far better last night and that carried the day. One example was number of shot attempts; a statistic Benjamin has dominated every other game I attended of theirs’ this season, but the faceoff domination by Jupiter’s Michael Smith set the Warriors up with a smooth entry to a patient offense as Jupiter held the 37-30 shot advantage. Both teams hit the cage at the same percentage but Jupiter got far more inside looks and those added up to the margin of victory.
I felt a certain numbness after the game, realizing that there will likely never again be a playoff game between these two . . . remembering the past regular season games almost always backed up by a District final or first round matchup . . . when the first game result was reversed in the rematch. That will never happen again and one of the victims of the FHSAA’s decision two years ago is this rivalry. Maybe the crowd sensed that a little too. Geoffrey Chaucer wrote ‘All good things must come to an end’ back in 1374 and nearly 750 years later it is a reality again. The sudden death nature of their previous last games of the season no longer occurs; it has been replaced with something akin to a ‘tune-up’, which does not carry emotion. Maybe they should play one game per year for an annual trophy to try to recreate the magic?
Thanks a lot Gainesville . . .
Jupiter’s future is simple . . . beat St. Thomas to avenge their only loss and then on to what shapes up as one of the most intriguing Final Fours in a long time. For Benjamin the task is simply get out of District, with a path to Austin-Tindall through what is likely the weakest quadrant of all 8.
The possibilities of matchups there are large . . . one thing I’m pretty sure of is that 4 of the 8 teams surviving the path will have never played in a Final Four before.
A little Star-Trekish if you ask me.
Jackson Bashaw opened the scoring for Jupiter at 7:01 of the first as he went down the left alley for the left hand to the low right corner and a little over a minute later it was Max Silver finding Max Sanderson all alone on the crease for the easy finish and 2-0. Luke Pisani made it 2-1 as he got inside position on the low left wing and his hi-stick shot caught the far corner but at the buzzer it was Tyler Douglass scooping a loose ball in front and getting off the low left shot for 3-1 after one.
Brady Quinn brought Benjamin back within one at 10:54 of the second as he curled from behind right and finished with his left hand for 3-2 but then Jupiter went on a four-goal burst to open the lead up to 7-2. At 8:57 it was Bashaw finding the cutting Silver from right GLE for the one-timer and 16 seconds later Sanderson spun away from his defender and the left hand found low right. A minute later Trace Hogan completed a split dodge up top and his left hand found the top right and that was followed 5 seconds later as Smith popped forward the faceoff ad finished himself with the left hand to the top left. Benjamin made it 7-3 at 5:58 as Dominick DeVito found Peter Cenci cutting to the cage from low right and Cenci finished right hand high, only to see Jupiter’s Hogan and Bashaw combine on another back door cut to the front as Hogan netted his second. Cenci finished the 2nd with a left GLE face Dodge to the cage with 45 seconds to go to draw the Bus to within 8-4.
DeVito drew Benjamin within 3 at 7:32 of the third as his right alley dodge got between Aiden Vincent’s legs. Jupiter responded twice in 17 seconds to make it a 10-5 game, with Sanderson curling from behind right for the low shot in front, drawing a penalty and on the ensuing EMO it was Sanderson taking the Jack Farris feed from top right on the wing for the step down to the short side. Benjamin’s leading scorer Trevor Natalie finally broker through as he took advantage of a soft cover on the right wing and he stepped into a left-hand low shot at 4:39 and with 53 seconds left it was DeVito face dodging the left wing for the low, right hand shot for 10-7 after three.
Less than a minute into the fourth it was Hogan curling behind right and backhanding one to the far side for 11-7. Benjamin’s last goal came on EMO at 7:22 as Quinn found Natalie on the right wing from behind and the Natalie step-down found the short side. Hogan again finished off a back-door cut, taking the Silver feed in front for his fourth at 5:52 and with 2:36, on EMO, it was Hogan finding Sanderson up top for the low shot to end the game 13-8.
Practice and rest for both teams as they each have a first round bye in their Districts.
Somehow it just doesn’t feel the same.
Here’s Jupiter HC Nick O’Hara after the game:
Faceoffs: Jupiter 17-2
Shots: Jupiter 37-30
Shots on Goal: Jupiter 23-19
Turnovers: Jupiter 14-9
Penalties: Four each
Max Sanderson 5G
Trace Hogan 4G/1A
Max Silver and Jackson Bashaw with 1G/2A each
Tyler Douglass and Michael Smith with 1G each
Jack Farris 1A
Aiden Vincent with 11 saves
Peter Cenci and Dominick DeVito with 2G/1A each
Trevor Natalie 2G
Brady Quinn 1G/1A
Luke Pisani 1G
Brock Roe with 10 saves
Thanks to Coach O’Hara and Coach Cordrey for talking to me before and after the game