In their 2006 season finale, the Mineola PAL Chiefs third-grade Boys Lacrosse Team tied the undefeated Cold Spring Harbor Seahawks 4-4 in front of crowds of screaming fans at Hampton Stadium on June 3. The tie ended their season with a winning record of 3-2-3 in Division I.
During the opening face of the game, Chiefs midfielder Michael Patalano scooped a ground ball and headed for the offensive zone. With some nifty moves Patalano got around the defenders and bounced the ball past the goalie for the quick 1-0 lead, but a very talented Seahawk team kept the pressure on the young Chiefs scoring two consecutive goals to take a 2-1 lead. Late in the first half, hard to catch Chiefs midfielder Michael Elefonte passed the ball to attackman Steven Gessner. With one swift motion, Gessner shot the ball past the goalie for the 2-2 tie.
The second half was like a street fight. Neither team wanted to go home a loser - scrapping and clawing for every ground ball. The Chiefs defensemen Gavin Dowd, Jake Connors and Chris Asam worked hard to defend goalie John Clancy in front of the net, but the Seahawks were at it again, pressuring the Chiefs in their own end of the field. Just like that the Seahawks scored two unanswered goals and took the 4-0 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Chiefs have been their best in the fourth quarter all year long and today was no different. With great passing by Chiefs midfielders Brian Smith, Thomas O'Connell and James Gerstner, the Chiefs moved the ball effectively around the field attacking the Seahawks' defensive zone. This time, Chiefs attackman Chris Lockwood passed the ball to Gessner for the goal. But Mineola still found themselves trailing Cold Spring Harbor 4-3.
With about a minute to go in the game, Chiefs midfielder Thomas O'Connell checked a Seahawks attackman and stole the ball. O'Connell then made his way down the sideline spinning and cutting through the defense. With one last dodge, he shot the ball past the goalie for 4-4 tie. The fans went wild but there was still time left in the game. The Chiefs won the face off. O'Connell passed to Gessner in the crease; Gessner shot and hit the post. With a few seconds left, O'Connell passed to Smith in front of the net but time ran out and the game ended in a 4-4 tie.
The entire Mineola third-grade team and coaching staff showed outstanding character and sportsmanship all year long. Other players that contributed in the comeback were Ryan Eccher, Dominic Paggi, Zach Chorost, Jacob Correia, Matt Demelas, Brandon Durham and Robert Luca. An injured Thomas Bonziglia was on the sidelines cheering his teammates on.