Taylor keeps Islanders undefeated, Mercer downs Bellevue 7-5
Mercer Island defeated Bellevue 7-5, in a defensive battle to take the #1 seed in the playoffs. With the win, the Islanders cemented an undefeated season taking down the #2 Wolverines. Fans presence at the game numbered nearly a thousand among both clubs. It was game complete with high intensity, loud crowds and yes, Mercer streakers.
Mercer’s infamous streakers, known to reveal themselves during their big games, cut across the field during the Bellevue’s opening possession. After a turnover, Mercer’s Steven Taylor dodged up top and scored the first goal of the night for the Islanders.
Bellevue won the ensuing face-off and settled into their offense, running a 2:2 formation, using a two-man pick and roll on the invert. The Islander defense forced wide shots and after a fierce triple team, the Islanders forced a turnover. Taylor got a feed with some time and room and scored, putting the Islanders up 2-0 with five minutes to go in the first quarter. The Wolverines got a break on an EMO, but the Islander defense stopped them. The Islanders led 2-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter opened up with an Islander EMO, but Bellevue’s defense took it away. The action settled for several minutes. Until Bellevue’s Ryan Deal shook his defender and scored one-on-one, putting the score 2-1. Wettack answered minutes later, as the Wolverines started to rack up some penalty minutes. At the end of the half, the score was 3-1 Mercer ahead. An interesting halftime note, Bellevue won four out of the five face-offs in the first half.
As the third quarter began, Bellevue’s Blake Samuel scored on the door step on an EMO. After a tough Mercer clear, the Islanders settled into their offense. Jon Wettack scored his second goal, with an outside ripper, putting the Islanders up by two.
The Islander ride continued to trouble Bellevue clearing game. Connor Bernal fed an open Taylor on the crease and he scored a hat trick. Mercer goes up 5-2 with less than five minutes to play. Transitions began to trouble Bellevue, as their rides and clears began to break down. However, in a great athletic play, Alex Mennella cleared the ball and went all the way to the cage for a goal. It sparked cheers from Bellevue’s crowd. The score at the end of the third quarter was 5-3 Mercer.
The physicality picked up as the forth quarter got underway. The Wolverines attempted a hidden ball trick on an EMO, but it failed. Deal again, scored seconds later after backdoor cutting the Islander defense, his second goal of the night.
Another botched Bellevue clear led to an Islander goal. Connor Beckwith stole the ball at the half line, dishing it to Doug Mahony, who sprinted to the goal and scored on a high bouncer. The sense of urgency began to pick up with both teams. In an unsettled transition, Deal picked up a loose ball and faked out Giraud, cutting the deficit by one. Immediately, Taylor scored on the next possession his forth of the night. The score at the two minute mark was 7-5 Mercer.
With less than two minutes to play both teams began to turn up the intensity. Bellevue took possession and attempted a comeback. Mercer goalie Hap Giraud made a huge play, laying a hit on an open attackman, giving the Islanders the final possession and the win. Final score 7-5 Mercer and the home fans took to the field in celebration.
Notes: Statisically, Bellevue out shot Mercer 37-24, won 8 out 14 face-offs. Mercer went 2-6 on EMO with an effective man-down defense.
Player of the Game:
Steven Taylor- 4g MI
Ryan Deal - 3g Bellevue