BROADALBIN - Matt Myers wasn't ready when he was called to action late in the first half when the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots' starting goalkeeper, Pat Brown, left Thursday's Foothills Council game with an injury.
"I wasn't warmed up or anything," Myers said. "I was freaking out a little bit."
He quickly calmed down and combined with Brown to record Broadalbin-Perth's second straight shutout, a 2-0 win over the South Glens Falls Bulldogs, which gave the Patriots sole possession of second place. The Patriots and Bulldogs battled to a 1-1 tie on Sept. 5.
Broadalbin-Perth’s Justin Marek battles South Glens Falls’ Rick Buser for the ball during Thursday’s Foothills Council game at Patriot Field in Broadalbin.
The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo
"It's huge to start off the second half of the season with a decisive win," Broadalbin-Perth coach Brian Henry said. "I think it's going to give us a lot of momentum heading into Queensbury in a few days. We've got to get a little bit of help from some other teams to knock off Scotia. We're going to do what we need to do to make sure we're in it toward the end. Today was a big step toward doing that."
The win pushes the Patriots to within a point of the idle Tartans.
About a minute before he entered the game, defender Logan Ackley helped seal the victory. He brought the ball up the field, looking for one of the team's offensive players, but decided to take it to the goal himself.
"I got to the box and there really wasn't anybody open and, first of all, I haven't scored many goals, and I saw the defender was leaning to the right," Ackley said. "I had the path and I just took it."
Ackley's initiative was rewarded as he made his way into the box and blew a shot past the South Glens Falls' diving goalkeeper Josh Hay, who finished with seven saves, for a 2-0 Patriots lead.
"The two goals in the first half, we made some pretty blatant mistakes that we shouldn't have," South Glens Falls coach Travis Birkholz said. "And Broadalbin is the type of team that if you make those mistakes, they're going to make it count."
The Patriots (7-2-1 overall, 5-1-1 Foothills Council) got on the board just a few minutes into the game when Tucker Wilcox sent a ball toward the left side for Ben Bellandi, who dribbled the ball into the penalty box and took a shot on goal.
Hay dove to his left and was able to knock the ball out of the way, but Francesco Mastrocinque blew the loose ball over Hay and into the net, giving the Patriots a 1-0 lead.
"They did a nice job," Henry said. "It was a great goal. Franny crashed the net on a rebound and he did exactly what he was supposed to do. We kept the pressure on them for a good portion of the game. It was a very good win. I was very happy with the way we played."
Once the second half started, Myers and the Patriots' defense had a chance to shine as Myers, who hadn't played goal in several weeks, had to make three saves to keep the Bulldogs from getting back into the game. Brown made three saves before leaving the game.
"These guys have been working hard all year," Henry said. "There have been a couple games where they haven't seen much action. They're kind of sitting there and waiting for things to take place. Today, they were called upon, both of them. Both stepped up, were aggressive and did exactly what they were supposed to do. It's nice. It's one less thing we have to worry about when we know the goalies are doing their jobs back there."
Despite the early season tie to the Bulldogs (6-3-1 overall, 4-2-1 Foothills Council) early in the season and the loss to the Tartans, the Patriots are still hopeful they can get a late-season win in Scotia and possibly some help in their quest for two straight Foothills Council championships.
"This is our second shutout in a row, which is great," Ackley said. "We had to take this game because we're three points behind at the moment depending on how Scotia does."