CANTON Section 2s champions held both Ogdensburg Free Academy and Canton scoreless to claim victories in the first round of the state boys soccer playoffs Tuesday at SUNY Canton.
Hoosick Falls (16-5 overall) edged Canton 1-0 in overtime to win a Class C game and Ichabod Crane (19-0-1) defeated OFA 3-0 in the Class B game.
Hoosick Fallss Chris LaCroix scored on a classic counter attack 63 seconds into sudden-death overtime ending Cantons season.
The goal was a signature strike for the Panthers, who used a defensive-oriented formation to compensate for a lack of depth and shortage of experience at the start of the season.
We play a 2-3-2-3 formation, which is an Italian thing and we do a lot of good stuff out of it, said Hoosick Falls coach Mike Young, a former Gouverneur player. We started the season with a whole new defense and we have a very young team so we want to keep a lot of people behind the ball. We counter well and we have stressed for our young players to learn how to control the ball. Canton kept a lot of players back and they played well. Our three players up front had to be very patient and make the most of our chances.
The Panthers made the utmost of the first shot in overtime which proved to be the only time in the contest when either defense allowed a clear shot from the middle of the field. Lacroix took a lead pass from Max Haar in full stride in a seam between two defenders and drilled a low shot from just outside the bubble, which deposited itself just inside the right goal post.
I started out on the right side and cut into the middle where I got a great feed, Lacroix said.
Canton (9-5-4) consistently exploited big gaps in the middle of the field to deliver dangerous drives toward the goal and nearly scored with 2 minutes, 14 seconds to play when Ryan Caldwell headed a cross from Bryant Wentworth just wide of the goal post.
Wentworth also made the defensive play of regulation clearing the ball from the shadow of the goal line after Canton keeper Scott Wight deflected a redirected shot by Lacroix off the crossbar in the first half.
Wight finished with four saves in the game and Noah Chani handled 10 shots for Hoosick Falls.
Coach Matt Caufield said the pride he felt for his team overcame the disappointment of the overtime loss.
This is a great group of young men and I told them they had nothing to hang their heads about, Caufield said. This season was the first time that any of them had played in a sectional championship game and moved on to the states. We finished as one of the top 11 Class C teams in New York State. We played well today but we just got beat by a very nice goal.
Ichabod Crane enjoyed a decided advantage in possession from the outset against OFA (8-6-4) but were turned back several times by the combination of a well-positioned defense and the range and aggressiveness of goaltender Jake Sias.
The Riders broke for the first goal just 52 seconds before the end of the first half in a scramble situation after Sias deflected a shot off the crossbar. Richardo Cruz made a quick move along the baseline then delivered a pass to Alex Niemann near the top of the bubble. Neimann one-ouched a hard shot just of the reach of a diving Sias (14 saves).
That first goal was very big. We had played very good defense and Jake Sias made some big saves and it looked like were going to go the half 0-0, said OFA coach Matt Morley. Pat Cosmo did a great job marking their leading scorer (Seth Scarano), but they are such a talented a team that you cant stop everybody.
Scarano made it 2-0 early in the second half when he scored on a penalty shot after an OFA defender was called for a hand ball.
Tyler Jablanski scored the final goal for the Riders seven minutes later.
Tyler is an amazing player, Riders coach Mattias Nordgren said. He plays all over the field and he never stops. This is really an remarkable team, the best team that our area has produced in many years. We have been in control of every game. Today we hit too many shots over the net. Ichabod Crane keeper Pierce Reilly finished with four shots to post the shutout and preserved the shutout with two minutes to play with a diving save on curving shot by Gian Rufa. Two minutes after the Riders took a 2-0 lead, OFA nearly forged back into the game when Seth Pinkerton nearly headed home a direct kick by David Prudhomme as it sailed past the upper righthand corner of the net.