LANSDALE >> Eric Bauer was a marked man but he squeezed in two second-half goals, keeper Brian Graham made three big saves in the fourth quarter, and Archbishop Wood held together for a satisfying 5-3 victory over rival Lansdale Catholic in a chilly Philadelphia Catholic League contest Wednesday.
“Last year we had two tough losses to (LC) so it feels good to get a win under our belt,” Bauer said after his team hustled to win ground balls and also held the Crusaders to a 1-for-5 finish in man-up situations. “I think this year we kind of played more as a team. Last year we had good chemistry and stuff but I think we tried to do things too much individually when we started getting down.
“Even when we faced adversity (today), we still kind of played as a team, played our offense, and did our job.”
The Vikings broke a 3-3 tie in the fourth to raise their PCL record to 2-1. Zac Boyk rifled one in from about 15 yards out to put Wood in front, 4-3, and Bauer also scored unassisted a few minutes later to provide some breathing room.
“The fourth quarter is where we really turned it on,” Bauer said. “That’s when we were talking on the sideline, saying ‘we can not lose this. You gotta give it everything. Pedal to the metal.’”
Wood’s offensive surge had netted two key goals and then Graham provided the backbone for the defense, turning away three LC shots in the final moments to keep it a two-goal game.
In a well-played, evenly-matched contest, the score was tied on three separate occasions, the lead changing hands three times.
Said Bauer: “We played (LC) in the District (12-2A) Championship last year so this is big for playoff implications and it’s a big Catholic League win also.”
Neither team wanted to give ground, shots at a premium in the early going. Colin Bruestle set up Andrew Leinenbach for the first goal of the game, giving the Vikings (2-3) a 1-0 edge.
LC (1-1, 1-1 PCL) came right back, tying the score when Daniel White passed to Ryan Flanegan, who put it away to make it 1-1.
Evan Hannings bounced one in to give the Crusaders their first lead of the game, 2-1 in the second quarter, but then Greg McFadden went low to beat LC keeper Connor Flanegan, tying it 2-2 at the half.
Bauer put Wood in front after the break but Flanegan notched his second tally, deadlocking things at three apiece. Wood took it from there.
“They just wanted it a little bit more today,” Crusaders coach Christian Blair said. “It’s gonna be a good experience for some of our younger guys who haven’t necessarily played at the varsity level, to be in a tough game like this where it comes down to the wire.
“We contained (Bauer), who is their big gun. That was our game plan — he didn’t beat us. They did a good job of overcoming and playing together as a team.”