TIME RUNS OUT
The oars Riverside used to row into the first round of the 4-A playoffs fell apart in the third quarter against Panther Creek on Wednesday.
The Catamounts from Cary, a wild-card team, exploded for seven third-quarter goals in Linny Wrenn Stadium to separate from the third-seeded Pirates in a 12-3 road win.
“They scored two or three in the last minute of that third quarter, and that really just took the life out of us. It was disappointing,” Riverside coach Glenn Estacio said. “That was definitely the turning point in the game.”
Riverside made it 3-3 in the third when C.J. Carpenter set up Luke Berndt for a goal.
Panther Creek got that back and then some, responding quickly with goals from Ben Richter and Matt Artman.
The Pirates needed a timeout to talk about it.
“It was just trying to identify the reasons we got scored on,” Estacio said. “The first one, we were in a zone, and every team is going to put their best shooter on this wing spot, and we didn’t identify that guy, and that’s something we go over time and time again, and we just didn’t communicate there.
“What ended up hurting is that No. 9 kid — I don’t know his name, but he was just dominant on the face-offs,” said Estacio, referring to Artman. “What’s disappointing is that we knew about him and that he had a tendency when he picked up the ball he wanted to immediately bring it down the field and get some, what we call, early offense, and we didn’t handle that well. And that’s a great time as an offensive player to go, because the defense isn’t set up and we just didn’t ever make that adjustment.
“When that happens, we’ve got to clear the ball well. When we get a defensive stop, we’ve got to make sure that we don’t give them second-chance opportunities, just like any sport, like basketball or anything.”
After the timeout, Riverside goalie Justin Tedder came up with a nice save, but the ball bounced out of his net. A Catamount got the rebound and scored, contributing to Panther Creek’s strong showing during its first postseason appearance.
“We’ve had problems in our third quarter coming out of halftimes sort of stale, and the guys were really psyched — this is our first playoff game ever,” Panther Creek coach Steve Haine said. “We knew from games we’ve had so far this season that if we come out stale, bad things happen. So we made it a priority for the third quarter to come out running, and we did.”
Some sloppy first-quarter passing by the Pirates kept landing the ball in the nets of the Catamounts.
Tedder didn’t do the Pirates any favor when he wildly flung the ball down the field with 18 seconds left in the first quarter. There was plenty of time for Riverside to set up a better look at the goal, although Panther Creek wasn’t exactly giving up much around the crease.
“We just had trouble getting quality shots,” Estacio said.
PANTHER CREEK 12, RIVERSIDE 3
Panther Creek |3 |0 |7 |2 — 12
Riverside |2 |0 |1 |1 — 3
PANTHER CREEK — Goals, Carter Rucker 4, Dillon May 2, Ben Richter 2, Matt Artman 3, Nolan Eichhorst. Assists, Parker Williams. Saves, Terrence Laster 15.
RIVERSIDE — Goals, C.J. Carpenter, Cameron McNeill, Luke Berndt. Assists, Carpenter 2. Saves, Justin Tedder 11.
Records — Panther Creek 8-10. Riverside 6-6.