TOWAMENCIN >> Matt Rinck has come to terms with the fluctuating highs and lows of being a goaltender in lacrosse.
“It’s definitely one of the upsides/downsides to being a goalie. You’re the last line of defense and if you don’t make that one good save then you kind of get down on yourself,” the North Penn senior netminder said. “But you just have to pick yourself back up. So I think those big saves really got my confidence up.”
Monday afternoon had more of the upside for Rinck, who provided saves in both quality and quantity for the Knights boys lacrosse team in a tight Suburban One League National Conference contest with visiting Central Bucks West. Rinck stopped 24 Bucks shots while North Penn made a late defensive stand to hold on for a 7-6 victory.
“We knew we had to come into this game playing very, very well,” Rinck said. “And we didn’t start off that way but towards the end we came through and we really fought through it and we ended up on top. It was a really hard-fought game.”
Reece Udinski had a pair of goals — including scoring his 100th of his career — and handed out four assists as the Knights (10-3, 5-1 conference) won their fourth straight in a game in which the largest lead for either side was two. Lucas Yannul added a pair of goals for NP, including the game-winner with 3:30 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“It was an awesome team effort,” Knights coach Rick Smith said. “We fought through adversity as individuals and I told them at halftime do your jobs as individuals and we’re going to come out on top.”
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) May 2, 2017
Gervais and Joey Rockovich both had two goals to pace Central Bucks West, which has lost two straight.
The contest was tied at the end of the first (2-2), second (3-3) and third quarters (4-4) before the Knights scored twice to take an 6-4 edge with 9:40 to go. CB West (9-4, 5-1) rallied back to pull even on Brandon Gervais’ strike at 5:53 but Yannul put North Penn back ahead off a Udinski assist.
The Bucks had a chance to knot the game, holding possession after a time out with 1:18 remaining. But the Knights’ defense held firm, denying West a shot attempt and Andrew Alexander forced a ground ball that led to a Bucks penalty at 16.2 seconds.
Central Bucks West got the ball back with a few ticks on the clock, but a desperation toss was caught by Rinck, who heaved it back down the field.
“I always say to the guys it always comes down to one ground ball and Andrew Alexander was a person who was struggling a little bit at halftime, having a rough halftime and he got the winning ground ball for us to give the possession at the end of the game,” Smith said. “But I just think together as a team there individuals that really stepped up and Matt Rinck was unbelievable in goal. So we have some players that really stepped up big time.”
Rinck’s best save came early in the third quarter. With West on the man advantage, Ben Sexauer found Erik Ojert open in front of the net, but Rinck despite having fallen to his knees, found away to get his stick in front of Ojert’s shot and keep the game 3-3.
“Our goalie coach, coach (Sean) Ruhren, he always says match sticks,” Rinck said. “So I threw my stick up there and I tried to match his stick as best as I could and I just happened to get a piece of it.”
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) May 2, 2017
Udinski gave North Penn a 4-3 lead at 4:42 in the third before Rockovich’s tally at 2:11 sent the teams to the fourth all square.
A long pass from Udinski found Yannul alone at the West goal and the NP sophomore bounced a shot it at 10:06 remaining. Nick Keim made it 6-4 16 seconds later, lasering a shot into top corner off an Eric Diamond assist.
Sexauer’s goal at 8:05 got the Bucks back within 6-5 with Gervais’ second of the game tying things at 5:53. But from behind the net, Udinski connected with a cutting Yannul, who bounced in the go-ahead goal at 3:30.
“He’s a fourth attackman for us and when we put Reece up at midfield, Lucas comes in and Lucas gets the job done,” Smith said. “We always ask all of our players to be ready any given team. He comes out and scores two goals off the bench.”
Both teams have SOL National games Friday. North Penn visits Council Rock South at 3:30 p.m. while CB West hosts Council Rock North at 7 p.m.
Central Bucks West took a 2-0 lead on a Rockovich strike at 4:15 in the first but Udinski assisted on a pair of Knights goals — the first to Tanner Nelson, the second to Matthew Dickson — to make it 2-2 at 1:23.
Udinski gave the Knights their first lead at 10:42 in the second quarter but Gervais drove for a goal with just 2.1 seconds remaining before halftime for a 2-2 contest at the break.
North Penn 7, Central Bucks West 6
Central Bucks West 2 1 1 2 — 6
North Penn 2 1 1 3 — 7
Central Bucks West Goals-Assists: Joey Rockovich 2-1; Brandon Gervais 2-0; Mike Samson 1-0; Ben Sexauer 1-0.
North Penn Goals-Assists: Reece Udinski 2-4; Lucas Yannul 2-0; Matthew Dickson 1-0; Nick Keim 1-0; Tanner Nelson 1-0; Nic Conroy 0-1; Stephen Rinck 0-1.
Saves: Matt Rinck (NP) 24.