Photo by Sean Carpenter -UltiPhotos.com
The D.C. Current took care of business on the road Saturday night when they defeated the Philadelphia Spinners 26-24 in overtime on the field turf of Marple Newtown High School.
Desperate for a win after suffering three losses over their last four contests, the D.C. Current knew the best way to insert themselves back into the playoff picture was by toppling the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Spinners on the road. The Current (4-3) proved to be up to the task as they responded to a fourth-quarter Spinners rally with determined defense in the overtime session to walk away winners.
“We had to win,” said Current head coach Keven Moldenhauer. “Saturday night was more than a win against a very good opponent; it was a blueprint for how are going to play the rest of the season: Hungry.”
D.C. started out the contest on fire as their O-line scored quickly and followed it up with back-to-back break points. Brent Bellinger found an open Erik Salmi to give the squad a 3-0 advantage.
“The first thing we discussed after our loss at home a couple weeks ago was hunger,” said Defensive Head Coach Will Smolinski. “Philadelphia wanted that game more than we did, and as a team we agreed that we had a decision to make. Do we want it? Those first two breaks showed the choice that we made.”
The Current were able to make those break points stick by holding a three point advantage after the first quarter at 7-4 and after the second at 12-9.
Peter Prial (1 goal, 3 assists) scored the opening goal of the second half to ballon the Current’s margin to four, their biggest advantage of the contest, but Philadelphia would quickly respond with a score from their O-line followed by a break to halve D.C.’s lead to two. The Spinners would get within a single score halfway through the third quarter when Leon Chou found a wide open Nick Mathison to make it a 14-13 contest.
The Current would not let Philadelphia get any closer however as they held on to an 18-16 lead heading into the final period. They would keep that two point advantage intact until less than four minutes remained in the game.
The Spinners made a last minute push starting with Ben Scharadin hitting Matt Glazer for a score to cut the lead to one. Matt Esser then found Chou for the tying score.
“Their D was firey,” said Smolinski. “We had our two- or three-goal lead all game and had gotten comfortable.”
D.C. was able to grab the lead once again when Jonathan Neeley (2 goals, 5 assists) passed the disc to Tom Doi (5 goals, 1 assist) for a score with just 43 seconds left on the clock. However, the pesky Spinners wouldn’t go away without a fight as Scharadin put a pass to Billy Sickles to force overtime.
Alan Kolick (4 goals and 3 assists) found Neeley above a crowd in the end zone to begin the five-minute overtime. D.C. finished the game with another goal as Nate Castine hit Chuck Cantone with a hammer, ending the contest at 26-24.
“I wasn’t worried,” said Moldenhauer. “When you play a great team you know they will go on a run. That is why you get the breaks early. It allows you to re-focus and finish strong.”
The Current hope this win can springboard them to a strong finish in their final three games of the regular season. First up will be the Boston Whitecaps who will travel down I-95 to face the Current in their final home game of the season this Saturday June 13. First pull is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.