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North Penn uses late 3rd-quarter burst to top CB South

WARRINGTON >> The two-goal lead the North Penn boys lacrosse team held at halftime was quickly washed away by host Central Bucks South in the third quarter of their cold and rainy Suburban One League National Conference contest.

The Titans pulled even 8-8 less than two minutes into the second half and founded the back of the net twice more for a 4-0 run that gave South its own two-goal edge over the Knights.

“They just came out more fired up then we did out of halftime,” North Penn junior Eric Diamond said. “It was a short halftime because of the weather and we had a (two) goal lead at the half, we kind of got complacent, we were like ‘Oh, we can just keep doing what we’re doing and we’ll be all right.'”

“But they kind of came and punched us in the mouth a little bit. But we bounced back.”

Trailing 10-8, North Penn’s bounce back came through faceoffs, as the Knights began to gain possessions which they converted into five straight goals to retake the lead and hold off CB South in the fourth to claim a 14-12 victory Tuesday afternoon.

“It was confidence of having possession of the ball, that’s really what it came down to,” North Penn coach Rick Smith said. “We’re winning the faceoffs, we have possession of the ball, we’re a strong offense.”

Reece Udinski had a pair of goals and handed out seven assists, Nicolas Conroy had three goals and an assist while Danny Payne finished with a hat trick — all three goals assisted by Udinski — for the Knights (7-3, 3-1 conference), who rebounded from last Friday’s 9-8 loss to Central Bucks East to pick up a tight National win.

“Definitely felt good to come out strong against a league opponent especially after finishing not so strong against (Central Bucks) East on Friday,” Diamond said. “To finish the way we did felt really good.”

Diamond and Nick Keim both added two goals and an assist for NP. Central Bucks South’s Justin Abbonizio scored a game-high five goals while Dante Poli collected four goals and two assists for the Titans (6-4, 2-2), who had a three-game win streak snapped.

Poli connected with Abbonizio to make it 8-7 at 11:07 in the third while Mark Lumb’s strike just 13 seconds later had South and NP knotted at eight. Poli gave the Titans their first lead since 1-0 when he shook free of the Knights defense for a tally at 6:09. Abbonizio scored off a Ian Vogt assist to make it 10-8 at 4:01.

“I think at the beginning we were playing a little flat and they went up two on us and we got a little pissed off,” Diamond said. “We were like ‘We don’t want to lose this game.’ So we just dug deep and went on that run.”

At 3:39 in the third, Conroy posted the Knights’ first goal after halftime while a Diamond strike off a drive made it 10-all at 3:08. North Penn took the lead for good as Udinski and Payne combined for a goal for the third time in the contest at 2:19.

“I think the difference at the end was our faceoffs,” Smith said. “I say at the end of the third and into fourth quarter we started to win the faceoffs. And when we have the ball in offensive possessions, we’re in good shape.”

A Stephen Rinck rocket put the Knights up 12-10 at 1:35 while  Tanner Nelson capped the 5-0 burst at 1:08 for a three-goal NP advantage entering the fourth.

“We just stared winning faceoffs in the second half. It wasn’t just controlling the clamp, our wings got more involved in the ground balls,” Diamond said. “Mike Kohler and Jake Nelson picked up a few big grounds balls that really helped us get possessions.”

South made a comeback push in the final quarter. Poli bounced in a shot at 11:13 after forcing a turnover while Austin Novick got the Titans within 13-12 after his goal at 7:18. But Conroy scored with a behind-the-back shot off a Udinski assist at 2:36 and the Knights hung on to the two-goal margin.

After Vogt put South up 1-0 in the first quarter, the Knights posted the next four goals, the last by Keim thanks to a Udinski assist. An Abbonizio goal made it 4-2 after a quarter.

Both teams scored four times in the second quarter, but North Penn never lost the lead with a Payne goal courtesy a Udinski assist giving the Knights the 8-6 advantage at halftime.

North Penn 14, Central Bucks South 12
North Penn        4 4 5 1 — 14
Central Bucks South        2 4 4 2 — 12
North Penn Goals-Assists: Nicholas Conroy 3-1; Danny Panye 3-0; Reece Udinski 2-7; Eric Diamond 2-1; Nick Keim 2-1; Stephen Rinck 1-1; Tanner Nelson 1-0.
Central Bucks South Goals-Assists: Justin Abbonizio 5-0; Dante Poli 4-2; Ian Vogt 1-2; Austin Novick 1-1; Mark Lumb 1-0; Dan Mignonga 0-1.

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