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St. Joseph’s late goal advances in nail biter versus Belleville Mennonite

St. Joseph’s Academy 3, Belleville Mennonite 2

SJA  1 2 – 3

BMS 1 1 – 2


First half

SJ – Noah Ladlee unassisted, 29:47.

BMS – Jared Flood, unassisted, 28:57.

Second half

BMS – David Yoder unassisted, 25:10.

SJ – Spencer Gigante unassisted, 21:35.

SJ – Ladlee unassisted, 4:23.

Shots on goal: SJ – 16, BMS 16.

Corners: SJ – 5, BMS – 3

Saves: Rhiley Parks(BMS) 9, Isaac Bevilacqua (SJ) 6.

By Kenny Varner

PHILIPSBURG – Back where they belong.

After being absent from the post season, the Belleville Mennonite team showed that they were back and ready to contend.

In its game against a second year program in St. Joseph’s Academy, the Thunder and Wolves put on a very top defensive effort pushing the game to the final minutes before producing a winner.

Tied at two going into the final five minutes, the Wolves’ Noah Ladlee sent a screaming shot on an unassisted goal with 4:23 left, ending the scoring and giving his team the 3-2 victory.

Despite the loss, Belleville coach Brian Renno was happy with the effort he got from his players.

“I’m pleased with the effort we put out there today. We had our numbers down. We had two guys that were injured and medically unable to play. Another one was fighting Pneumonia. So to be down three starters and put up the fight and the grit that we displayed In very proud of them,” said Renno. “I’m disappointed that we had the lead and didn’t hold onto it. But I’m pleased with the effort they displayed.”

Both teams opened the game with a back-and-forth battle for possession.

St. Joes put the first goal on the board.

On a free kick opportunity, the Wolves Ladlee scores his first of two goals on a blast that curved to the right corner of the Thunders’ goal at 29:47.

But not to be outdone, the Thunder scored minutes later on a free kick of their own.

Jared Flood tied things at one on an unassisted blast of his own at 28:57.

The rest of the period both defensive back fields took and shut down the passing lanes and were stingy on allowing anyone in the box.

The score remain knotted at one as both teams went into the intermission.

Both teams were mirror images of themselves as both had six shot on goals each while the Wolves led 2-0 in corner opportunities.

The excitement was just beginning as the second half got underway.

The two defenses made heart-stopping after heart-stopping play to keep the other from taking the lead.

But BMS took a 2-1 advantage when David Yoder fought off a double team and the Wolves goalie and smack a blooper that just crossed the line as teammate Gabe Lucci was ready to send it home if it wasn’t declared a goal at the 25:10 mark of the second.

But St. Joseph rallied back tie tie the game up once again at the 21:35 mark.

This time it was Spencer Gigante that sizzled an unassisted goal past the Thunders’ goalie, tying at two.

As each second wound down, the intensity picked up as both teams went back and forth trying to crack each other’s defensive back line to send one through.

It was a fast paced back-and-forth battle for the ball.

As the game dropped below the 10-minute mark it look as if the game was headed for an overtime period but that would change as the clock dropped below five minutes.

With 4:23 left in the contest Ladlee blast a shot from beyond the 20 that just sailed over the outstretched arms of Rhiley Parks.

Parks was a workhorse as he finished with nine saves while Isaac Bevilacqua tallied six.

Despite the loss, the Thunder finished the season with its first winning record in four years and made a strong showing in the ACAA tournament this season as well.

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