Fightin’ Irish over the Black Panthers by McNutty

by

by McNutty

Game Photos available from Soundlacrosse.
Proceeds to benefit NW Lax Charities

 

Last night, archrivals Seattle Prep and O’Dea strapped it on at the Upper Genessee playfield for what would prove to be a great game to watch. Not only a rivals game, this game

Photo by Andrew Pohlman
Photo by Andrew Pohlman

would cast an early flavor in deciding this year’s “Seattle Catholic Cup.” The Cup goes annually to the  team with the best record across the Seattle-based Catholic high schools; Prep, O’Dea, Kennedy and Blanchet. (As an aside, Providence is now the prohibitive favorite in the WA State 95 Theses Trophy, now that King’s Way has rebranded as Columbia River. Yes, I just made a lame Reformation joke.)

Having watched O’Dea already this season, I’ve got to admit I expected them to control this game. But once again, it was proven how little I know, because for most of the game, Prep controlled the time of possession. Led by Senior and Navy-commit Sam Kopf, the Black Panthers seemingly started every face-off with possession, led by Kopf’s skill at the X and reliable groundball play from their wings.

For both teams, success could be measured by the ability to get hands free in traffic. The interior defenses played well and close-in shots on cage were at a premium all night. Neither Seamus Courtney (O’Dea) or Bennett Ling (Prep) would tell you this was their best night in goal, but their defenses’ ability to disrupt and dislodge the ball kept the number of goals allowed to a reasonable level. Prep’s pole play stood out, with Jack Pohlman and Joe Nelson leaning on Irish bodies all game long, forcing O’Dea to rely on transition goals and outside shooting.

Sam Kopf (in blue) dominated faceoffs all game

It was a tight game from the opening faceoff, with neither team opening up more than a two goal lead. O’Dea was led by freshman extraordinaire, Sam Dracobly, who put in three goals and had two assists. Dracobly and fellow freshman Cole Daninger are currently #2 & #3 among Metro League goal scorers. Connor Gossman and Joe Chamberlin carried the load for Prep, although the faceoff prowess of Kopf was very much the performance with the most impact.

Both Courtney and Ling saved their best goaltending for the 4th quarter, with multiple rejections of doorstep shots off of transitions or rebounds. It came down to the last two minutes of the game, with O’Dea clinging to a 9-8 lead. While trying to run out the clock, the Irish stepped out of the box, giving Prep another opportunity to send the game into overtime. But Courtney rejected a head-on shot from 10 yards out then followed with one of his trademark laser-clears. That led to the Irish sealing the game with a final goal, and a big celebration on the O’Dea end of the field.

Seamus Courtney (#32) celebrates a successful defensive stand at the end of the game with Mark Hastings (#25)

With the victory, O’Dea keeps pace with Seattle Academy, leading the Metro DI League with 3-0 records. Prep falls back with their 0-3, but their biggest challenges are behind them. While their chances for winning the Seattle Catholic Cup may be fading away, a playoff berth is still squarely within reach.

 

Game Photos available from Soundlacrosse.
Proceeds to benefit NW Lax Charities

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