Arlington reaches Class A semis
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LAGRANGEVILLE, N.Y. – Earning a spot in the Section 1 Class A semifinals for the first time in program history is a pretty nice preseason goal to have. So, after a dramatic 6-5 victory over No. 6 Clarkstown South (11-7) in the quarterfinal round on Tuesday, a huge celebration from No. 3 Arlington would be expected.
Not so fast. The Admirals (11-6) have bigger plans the just reaching the semifinals. They want more.
“Our goal from the beginning has been to get the final,” Arlington third-year head coach Don Connolly said. “Each year we’ve bolstered our schedule and improved our seed. The semifinal feels great, but we want that extra step.”
Goalie JD Colarusso made one of his best saves of the game with just two seconds left to preserve the one-goal victory over the Vikings. Brendan Caoili scored his second goal of the game to give the Admirals a 6-4 lead with 7:42 remaining, but Clarkstown South scrapped its way back into it with a goal from Ryan Jelen five minutes later, keeping the pressure on Arlington.
“(Clarkstown South) played really well today," Connolly said. "They seemed to outwork us, out-ground ball us, and their goalie was fantastic. We could’ve had four or five more goals, but he made great plays.”
South goalie Kris Alleyne made 12 saves.
Arlington took a 2-0 lead halfway through the first quarter with goals from Dan Arket and Caoili, but South tied it with a goal from Pat Ciaffi early in the second quarter. The two teams traded goals later in the quarter and South tied it once again heading into halftime after a goal from Thomas Lent. Coming out of the break Jayson Leigh and Evan Doherty each found the back of the net to give Arlington its two-goal cushion.
Despite not feeling great about the level of play from his team on this day, Connolly was still happy with how they finished strong. Each time Clarkstown South tied the game, Arlington answered with a goal. The Admirals never trailed.
“I’m happy that we were gut-checked by these guys," Connolly said. "We could’ve tightened up and we didn’t. Hopefully this prepares us for a tough game in the semifinals. Because we’re going to have to play better than this.”
Arlington’s offense was successful when it attacked the zone of Clarkstown South. The Admirals fired off 35 shots in the game, but neither team really found a rhythm offensively due to the tough defenses and goaltending.
“The whole game was nerve-wracking,” Colarusso said. “My defense set me up by denying good shots and we pulled though. That’s all that matters.”
Now, Arlington hosts No. 10 Mamaroneck on Thursday in the Section 1 Class A semifinals, unchartered territory for the boys from Dutchess County.
“We finished the season strong and we want the section title,” Colarusso said. “We’re making history here.”
Follow John Malone on Twitter @MSGV_Malone