Midway through the fourth quarter of North County's 6-3 boys lacrosse victory over Broadneck yesterday, the Bruins' frustration was evident on their sideline.
Players were slamming their sticks against their helmets or pounding them on the ground because North County keeper Tim McGeeney (15 saves) thwarted Broadneck at every turn.
Six of his 11 second-half stops came in the fourth period as the Bruins fired 10 shots on goal but failed to tally on two man-up advantages -- twice hitting the pipe.
At one point, McGeeney recovered from batting down one shot and turned to pick off Broadneck's John Hanna, who was trying to tip the rolling rebound inside the left pipe.
"I remember the exact play," said McGeeney, who now has 80 saves and has allowed 26 goals. "He was on the crease and took a shot that bounced between my legs. I turned around and kicked it off my leg and off the pipe and we cleared it out."
"There were a couple of fat pipes that helped us out a little bit," said North County coach Paul Shea, whose Knights improved to 9-1 overall and 4-1 against the county4A league. "Tim plays an outstanding game and rises to theoccasion each and every time."
McGeeney wasn't the only North County player rising to the occasion.
Troy Fulwiler subbed for injured face-off specialist Dae Sik Ham (sprained left ankle) and won nine of 14 face-offs. James Meyer (14 goals, two assists on the year) took a behind-the-goal pass from Greg Sabo -- with the Knights a man down -- to tie the game at 3-3 on his second goal of the game with 3 minutes, 13 seconds left in the third period.
North County's scoring leader Bob Wolfe (17 goals, six assists) had been held scoreless by Broadneck's best defender, Bryan Bowman, for nearly three periods. But he broke loose with 52 seconds left in the third period and his team at a man-upadvantage and fired a 15-yard, underhanded shot for the go-ahead goal.
He added an assist on Andy Ross's second goal of the game to give the Knights a 5-3 lead just under two minutes into the fourth period.
"I kept hanging my stick and (Bowman) was just taking advantage of me," said Wolfe. "But it was the whole team. Everybody played well."
All this after the Bruins had held a 2-1 first-quarter lead on two Mike Norton goals and a 3-2 lead on Steve Bruso's goal 30 seconds into the third period.
The win was especially sweet after a dismally played fourth quarter cost the Knights their first loss, 5-4, to Arundel last Thursday.
"We broke down in the fourth quarter against Arundel, and that's one thing coach emphasized -- intensity in all four quarters," said McGeeney. "We were deflated, but this gives usa big lift."
The Knights were also without senior midfielder Joe Wojciechowski (five goals, six assists), who broke his collarbone in the win over Old Mill. Wojciechowski is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Broadneck (6-4, 4-2) got a four-goal effort from Mike Strohman in Friday's 8-5 victory over a tough South River squad. But now, its playoff hopes are dimming.
"The way we played today, we don't deserve to be talking playoffs. North County just wanted it morethan we did, and we were flat, and I don't know why," said Broadneckcoach Clay White. "They had two major injuries, butthey were just hungrier than we were and beat us in every phase of the game."
Although the Knights had a 3-1 advantage in face-offs and more ground balls (12) than the Bruins (nine), Broadneck still led after the first quarter.
North County's Fulwiler took the opening face-off and beat the
Bruins' defense, but his one-on-one attempt with keeper Sam Peterson (six saves) was blocked.
The Bruins responded with a brilliant four-pass counterattack that ended with Greg Jackson feeding Norton for his first goal with 9:32 gone.
North County's Ross tallied his ninth goal of the season to tie the game with 7:02 remaining on an isolation play from the left of the goal.
But Norton came back at the other end on a similar behind-the-goal play, sprinting away from McGeeney on the left, turning on his defender and leaping to fire ablast into the net's far side.
The Knights won both face-offs in the second quarter and had a 6-3 advantage in shots, but only managedMeyer's goal that tied the game at 2-2 with 7:10 left in the half. North County passed the ball over the goal four times and missed on its other scoring attempts.