The ULax Winter Box Lacrosse League in New York City finished up this weekend after a second half of the season that saw all of the games get snowed out. At least we got the playoffs and Championship in! Due to the fact that we played on a Holiday Weekend, all of the teams were a little short when it came to bodies. LaxAllStars.com had the largest turnout, with 4 substitutes. We used this advantage in both of our games. Oh, and if you want Video Highlights, we put them up earlier in ULax NYC Box Lacrosse Championship Video Highlights. No splugh.
The first semifinal featured Brooklyn LC vs Dirt McGirt and both teams had only 2 or 3 subs. Brooklyn was without the services of Kevin Owens, Ryan O’Donnell and their goalie, Vinnie Ricasio aka The Art of Lax. One of the players for Those Bad Johnnies stepped into goal and did very well. The game stayed close throughout but in the end, Dirt emerged with the upset 12-10. Jack Friedman had 4 assists for Dirt while Kevin Mahoney exploded for 5 goals and an assist. Mark Powers chipped in 2 goals for Dirt as well and Peter Quinn dropped 3 goals and a helper.
Brooklyn was led by Chris Massey (yes, THE Chris Massey) who tallied 4 goals and by Jim Kappler who went 3 and 1. Daniel Maroquin chipped in with 2 goals and an assist and Rudy Martinez scored Dirt’s final goal. The guest keeper managed 15 saves in his debut and should be commended for stepping into the net, even if he forgot to put on a jersey. Neema Kassai had 17 saves in the win for Dirt McGirt.
In the second semifinal, LAS took on Those Bad Johnnies in a game that featured the #1 seed against the #4 seed. The final was 22-2 and the Johnnies were really hit hard by attendance. They picked up an extra player but the one sub wasn’t enough as LAS ran up and down early to go up big. James Synowiez led the way with 6 goals and 3 assists, ringing up the very impressive sock trick. Joe Barile went 3 and 3, Justin Otto added 3 and 3 and Rory Baldini scored 4 goals and assisted on one of mine as well. Whit Harrison was great in net giving up 2 goals and making 7 saves in the game. Not a very eventful afternoon for Whit.
Although the Johnnies didn’t win a game this short season, they showed up every week, played hard and had a good time. It was a blast to play with all of those guys each week and I hope that all 4 teams come back next year… whenever we decided to do this again. And no, it won’t run through the middle of Winter outside. Mike Goldman took a LOT of shots for TBJ in the semi againt LAS and ended up with 30+ saves easily. I think the score keeper just gave up after a while. I would have too. Either way, an extremely impressive effort for someone just learning the position!
In the Final, LAS pulled away early only for Dirt to come storming back. At one point the score was 7-5 but in the end, LAS’ legs and swarming transition game (it’s relative swarming here. It was cold and we were tired.) proved to be a little too much for Dirt and the final was 13-6 in LAS’ favor. James Synowiez again led the way with 4 goals and a helper while Justin Otto added 3 goals and 2 assists. Joe Barile had a had trick and a helper and Rory Baldini added 3 goals proving his transition from pure longstick to do it all player has reached a new level. Whit Harrison made 8 saves for the win.
Neema Kassai did very well in goal making 19 saves for Dirt to keep them in the game. Peter Quinn led the team with 4 goals while Kevin Mahoney and John Friedman also notched markers. With a couple additional players, Dirt really could have contested in this game. Overall, the season ended up being a pretty successful experiment. We learned Mother Nature is not to be trifled with, or trusted and that real box leg pads for our goalies greatly reduced the game scores. Most of the guys who played are more interested in box than they ever were before and I for one look forward to spreading this game much more.
The snow that killed the second half of the season was a risk we all took doing it outdoors and I’d like to personally thank all the players for being so understanding. I’d also like to thank our ref, Bob Boniello, who made every weekend an extremely enjoyable event for everyone, even when tempers flared. Bob reffed every game alone and the league wasn’t marred by a single fight or out of control moment. That’s thanks to the excellent work Bob did for us. Finally, I’d like to thank Terese Flores of the New York City Parks Dept. On the Friday before the Championship weekend, I was out shoveling ice off the rink alone when Terese came and joined me for and hour, even though she was in her office attire, wearing heels. This is just one example of the above and beyond approach she took as District Manager for the rink. Her hard work, availability and responsiveness is truly appreciated.