Purple Eagles nip rival Mustangs in 2 OT

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 25 October 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion players celebrate following the game winning goal in double overtime against rival Medina/Lyndonville this evening in the Section VI Class B1 semifinals at Hamburg.

Avenging a pair of regular season losses, No. 10 seed Albion upended rival No. 3 Medina/Lyndonville 1-0 in a double overtime Section VI Class B1 semifinal thriller on the turf this evening at wind swept Hamburg High field.

Josh Metzler scored the game’s lone goal on a chip shot off an assist from Connor McQuillian with 8:25 remaining in the second 15 minute overtime period vaulting Albion into next Wednesday’s B1 championship game against No. 1 East Aurora which blanked No. 4 Newfane 4-0 in the other semi.

“It was an unbelievable effort against a great team,” said Albion Coach Keith Akers whose Purple Eagles, after a so-so 4-8 Niagara-Orleans League campaign, have put together a Cinderella run to date through the sectionals first defeating No. 7 Burgard 7-0, then No. 2 Bennett 2-1 in overtime and now No. 3 Medina/Lyndonville in double OT.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion goalie Devin Gaylord goes high to make a save as Vassillios Bitsas (1) and Kristian Snyder (8) of the Mustangs and Drake Arnold (4) and Marcos Sanchez (17) of the Purple Eagles surround the play.

Medina/Lyndonville, which bested Albion by scores of 4-2 and 3-1 during the N-O season, controlled play for much of the evening putting on a steady barrage of shots that were all turned back by Purple Eagles goalie Devin Gaylord, who made 16 saves in what was his first varsity start, and his defensive mates including Nick Reed, Drake Arnold, Donato Roario, Metzler and Kevin Rosario. The Mustangs, in fact, had a 25-9 advantage in shots and a 11-4 edge in corner kick opportunities.

“It was an intense, gritty effort by our defense,” said Akers. “Devin did just a great job in goal for us,” he adding of Gaylord who was brought up from the JV ranks for the sectionals.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Aaron Feltz tries a shot for the Mustangs that Purple Eagle defender Nick Reed deflects in the last minute of regulation time.

Setting the tone for the evening, Medina/Lyndonville had one shot miss rolling across the goal mouth, and another header sail over the goal from close range in the opening half.

Albion put a couple of good shots on the Medina/Lyndonville goal in the opening half but goalie Justin Morgan made a good save on one and Mustangs defender Josh Klotzbach came back to make a key clear on the other.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Medina/Lyndonville’s Steven Anderson battles with Marcos Sanchez for control of the ball.

Medina/Lyndonville kept the pressure on in the second half which finished with the Mustangs putting on a quick flurry of three shots in the final minute each of which was turned away by Gaylord and his defensive teammates.

It was a packed in defensive unit that formed a wall in front of the Albion net that the high scoring Mustangs couldn’t dent. Gaylord had no less than five big saves in the half which saw the Mustangs fail to capitalize on five corner kick opportunities.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Cam Usselman heads the ball away from Medina/Lyndonville’s Colm Cooper as Jacoby Miller (11) moves in.

“It can be a cruel game at times,” said Medina/Lyndonville Coach Steve Luksch. “Sometimes you can dominate a game and something like that happens. I’m proud of our kids though. They gave it everything they had. They left it all on the field.”

The Mustangs just missed on two shots in the first 15 minute overtime period as Gaylord came up with a big stop on the second shot.

Then in the second overtime the Mustangs just missed on another shot moments before Albion made a quick rush upfield pay off as Metzler’s looping shot found the net giving the Purple Eagles the thrilling victory.

Medina/Lyndonville finishes the season at 13-4-1.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Jacoby Miller kicks the ball away from Mustangs defender Collin Dunn.