MINEOLA, NY -- It's rare when Chaminade's Ryan Lukacovic goes two games without scoring a goal. Three games without finding the back of the net? That would be unthinkable for the Virginia-bound junior attack.
But with the score tied late in the fourth quarter of Thursday's tense Chaminade-St. Anthony's game, Lukacovic admitted he was thinking about his drought. "I knew I hadn't put one in for a couple of games. I was in a little slump," Lukacovic said.
He found a cure. Starting from behind the net, Lukacovic darted left, got a step on his defender and scored unassisted on a low bullet with 2:07 left. Slump over. Game over. The Flyers outlasted the Friars, 6-5, yesterday in a CHSAA game before an overflow crowd at Chaminade that filled the bleachers and ringed the fence around the field on all sides.
"St. Anthony's defense did a great job slowing me down," said Lukacovic, who had an assist in the first quarter when five Flyers scored to build a 5-1 lead. "I made a quick move, saw the goalie come off the line and I shot to the inside close pipe. It was an awesome feeling."
No matter what the score is early, whenever these two rivals play, the games seem destined for late drama. "It's Chaminade and St. Anthony's. There are always peaks and valleys," said Chaminade coach Jack Moran. "No one is shutting anyone out."
Chaminade (4-0, 2-0), led by defensemen Brian Dunne, Brian Porter and Tim Muller and goalie Danny Fowler (13 saves) shut down St. Anthony's early. But Fowler knew that was a mirage. "I bet I've played against their guys at least one game every summer. We know each other so well," the Duke-bound Fowler said. "When they started stopping us, I knew they'd come back."
With goalie Eric Caliendo (17 saves) filling in admirably for ill Kieran Burke, St. Anthony's (2-1 league) held the Flyers scoreless in the second and third quarters and netted four straight goals. Brian Sherlock scored three and Sean McDonagh ripped one home unassisted from the left wing to make it 5-5 with 6:07 left.
That's when Fowler delivered a couple of big saves and watched, delightedly, when Lukacovic delivered his huge goal. "There was a lot of relief after that," Fowler said.
Lukacovic felt the same way.