Centennial holds off C. M. Wright, 6-4

May 18, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

Centennial knew a third straight state playoff appearance wasn't going to be easy.

In its way was a determined C.M. Wright team that gave it all it could handle earlier in the season.

The Eagles had to hold on to a one-goal lead for most of the second half before coming away with a 6-4 win over the visiting Mustangs yesterday in the Class 3A-4A West region finals at Centennial.

It wasn't until Brian Harding's back-to-back goals a minute apart midway through the fourth quarter that the top-seeded Eagles (13-2) could separate themselves from the second-seeded Mustangs.

There was still no quit in the Mustangs (10-6), who got a goal from Stas Kotula with 3:37 left and then had a number of other scoring chances thwarted by a strong defensive effort from Centennial led by goalie Brian Carr.

"In the second half, our defense did a great job with getting the ground balls and our goalie made some nice saves to hang on," said Centennial coach Mike Siegert.

The Eagles, who defeated the Mustangs, 5-2, in a regular-season meeting, took a 4-3 lead into the half yesterday and it stayed that way until Harding's two goals in the fourth.

Both teams had their share of chances in the scoreless third, but solid goaltending from Carr (eight saves) and C.M. Wright's Jason Parks (nine saves), strong defensive support and some shots off the mark kept the score the same going into the fourth.

"They kept us out of transition with their riding and that was the key. We also had some opportunities we didn't take advantage of," said C.M. Wright coach Carl Greenburg.

"It was a well-played game with two pretty good teams and unfortunately we came out on the losing end."

Harding's first goal came with 7:43 left in the fourth quarter to give the Eagles a 5-3 lead.

After Carr came up with a big save at the other end, Centennial got into its transition game with Jeff Iannarino finding Harding all alone on the right side of the crease.

Harding scored less than a minute later from the same right side after taking a feed from Rob Hauff.

After Kotula's goal made it 6-4, the Mustangs had two more chances with David Blades off the mark on a breakaway with just under two minutes left and Carr coming up with a big save off a shot from Tim Parks in the closing minute.

After Centennial dominated the early part of the first quarter, Parks scored the first of his three goals to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead.

Centennial got goals from David Saunders, Hauff and Brian Rowe in the final minute of the first quarter and Rowe added another early in the second to give the Eagles a 4-1 lead.

Parks and C.M. Wright came back with two straight goals in the second quarter to cut the Eagles lead to 4-3, but that's the closest the Mustangs would get.

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