Gaels fall to Notre Dame on late goal

Coach Matt Read’s Shelton High boys lacrosse team dropped a nailbiting 6-5 decision to Notre Dame of West Haven in the final seconds of its Southern Connecticut Conference game under the lights at Shelton High on Thursday night.

The Gaels rallied in their next game with Branford on Saturday, as they scored six goals in the final period, only to lose a 9-8 decision to the host Hornets (5-4).

Josh Kreitler scored three goals and Kyle McGinnis, Tyler Vasilescu, Jesse Lopez, Kyle Drost and Anthony Branca had one each.

In the Notre Dame matchup, both squads were aggressive from the outset, but the game remained scoreless throughout much of the first period.

The Gaels (2-5) managed to keep the action in Notre Dame territory for much of the period, and their persistence paid off with just over three minutes to go.

Vasilescu fired a shot on goal that drew Notre Dame’s goalie Paul Sliwinski out of the net in a fierce battle near the goal.

The ball came loose and rolled out of bounds and Shelton was deemed to have possession behind the net.

Matt Feigenblat passed to Branca on the left side of the frame and Branca whipped the ball into the goal to put the first goal on the board.

Notre Dame (4-5) tried to put together a drive late in the first quarter, but Shelton netminder Don Schiffer took away every angle and the period ended with the Gaels in front.

Notre Dame got the goal it was looking for just 10 seconds into the second period, however, when the Green Knights caught the Gaels off guard.

Shelton countered. Schiffer knocked down a shot in front of the goal and his long outlet pass down the field took the ball back into Green Knight territory.

It was there that Feigenblat nabbed a pass across the front of the goal, seamlessly turned, and fired a shot past Sliwinski for a 2-1 lead.

Shelton kept the ball in Notre Dame territory long enough to score again, as Feigenblat came around from behind the frame and tallied for the second time in two minutes and Shelton had a 3-1 lead with 8:31 left in the first half.

After Shelton’s goal, the action moved back into Gael territory. Schiffer blocked Notre Dame’s first shot, but with 7:40 to go in the half the Green Knights shaved the deficit in half with a goal to take the score to 3-2.

Notre Dame took another shot on goal just over a minute later, but no more scoring took place for the remainder of the half.

Notre Dame again got off to a hot start to open up the second half, tying the game with a goal just over a minute into the third quarter.

A Green Knight attacker took another shot on goal less than a minute later, but Schiffer had one of his 13 saves to return possession back to the Gaels.

Shelton took two shots on goal during this possession and both were deflected, but the third time was a charm.

Wasting no time, the Gaels’ Lopez fired his second shot of the sequence past Sliwinski (20 saves) to put Shelton back on top 4-3.

The rivals swapped possession a few times in the minutes immediately following Lopez’s goal, but after a shot by Feigenblat with a minute and a half to go, the Green Knights made a last-minute push to score before the quarter closed out.

With 58 seconds to go before the horn, Notre Dame scored its fourth goal of the night to once again even out the score.

The teams ended the quarter hot and continued to be aggressive in the fourth quarter, but several missed shots and strong defense by both teams kept the ball out of the net for almost 10 full minutes into the fourth period.

The Gaels made a concerted attempt to score with about three minutes to go, firing off three shots in a span of 19 seconds.

Notre Dame took possession briefly after the third missed shot, but Shelton got it right back 20 seconds later.

Drost, in the midst of several defenders, took the ball to right in front of the goal and attempted to score.

The shot was deflected, but bounced high up into the air and fell back into the net of Feigenblat, who caught it right in front of the left side of the goal and whipped it in for his third and final goal of the evening.

The goal gave Shelton a 5-4 lead with 2:06 to go, and it looked as though the Gaels were in good position to walk away with the win.

But Notre Dame tied the score less than 30 seconds later, and rode that newfound momentum to another goal with 35 seconds left.

Shelton got the ball back after the goal, but did not have enough time to score again.