Sunday, May 5, 2013

Onondaga at Newtown

In a game that saw both teams combine for 142 penalty minutes, you would expect a slow pace full of stoppages.  This was anything but true as the Onondaga Redhawks clashed with the Newtown Golden Eagles for the first time this season.

The two perennial top teams met on the Gil Lay turf for a rare late-night Friday matchup that did not faceoff till around 8:50pm in front of the large crowd of CanAm fans.  Both teams honored the late, great Nelson "Bally" Huff prior to gametime.  The NGE dedicated the game and the remainder of the 2013 season to Bally Huff, a hall-of-fame lacrosse legend from Newtown who recently passed on.  (More on Mr. Huff following the recap)

The opening period was a battle right off the bat with both teams playing physical and fast.  It was clear from the starting whistle that every loose ball would be a battle as emotions and intensity ran high.  It was also clear that goals would come at a premium with an excellent goalie backing each of the stout defensive units.  Newtown came away from the first period with a narrow 3-2 lead.  One official commented that in just the second week of the season, both teams were playing in mid-year form.

The second period began with a bang for the Golden Eagles as Kori Halftown netted a breakaway goal right off the opening faceoff to stretch the lead to two.  The remainder of the period saw successful powerplays by each team and the back and forth scoring saw the NGE add 2 more goals to their lead and end the second 8-4.

Knowing that no lead is safe against the rival Redhawks, the NGE focused on taking care of the ball in the third period, trying to control the tempo and use the full 30 second shot clock on offense to allow their hard working D to catch their breath.  With 6 minutes left in the game, what started as a loose ball scrum ended in a pile of fired up lacrosse players.  Rookie forward LeRoy Halftown took a high check to the facemask and his teammates took exception, resulting in a 4 on 4 tussle that saw eight players hit the turf, with both officials joining them to sort it out.  The result of the incident was five Newtown players being sent off early, along with four Redhawks.  Down to thirteen runners, it made substitutions interesting for the home team.  Newtown used the shortened benches to their advantage as they sent their remaining stick handlers out of the front door to spread the floor and work the clock.  The final result was a hard-fought 10-6 victory for the NGE, and the promise of an exciting rematch July 5th.

Preston Lay led all scorers with 2 goals and 3 assists.  In his first game back this season Brian Stevens netted 2g, 2a, and 2012 Team MVP Linden Stevens added 4 points with a goal and 3 assists.  The Golden Eagles accumulated 68 pims which was second to the 74 pims by the Redhawks.

Nelson "Bally" Huff
The remainder of the 2013 season will be dedicated to Mr. Nelson "Bally" Huff.  It will be commemorated with a special decal worn by the players containing "BH" and "7", his initials and jersey #.  He was inducted into the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2005 and is regarded as one of the greatest offensive players of his era. Played Juniors with the Newtown Athletics in the late 30's and moved up to the men's team at the age of 16. One of the first box lacrosse players to pass and shoot right or left handed with equal accuracy and power. In 1943 Bally joined the US Navy to serve in WWII. NAMLA Scoring champ in '50, '51, '52, '53.  League MVP in '50 & '51. Served as a role model for many young players through his dedication and commitment to a lifestyle-culture that respects and honors lacrosse as a gift from the creator. He has carried this tradition as a player, coach, fan and supporter. We would like to extend our deepest condolences & sympathy to the family & friends Bally.  Your years of dedicated commitment to the NGE will be greatly missed.

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