BYFIELD — According to Triton boys lacrosse coach Mike Rice, the reason why his team couldn’t find much success against CAL rival North Reading this spring was rather simple.
“They have a couple of really good shooters, Nos. 16 (Teddy Suny) and 8 (Daniel Oliveira) for them are just tough shooters,” said Rice. “They battle, they scrap, they play hard and they don’t give up. Not saying that we gave up today, we played really hard, they’re just a tough team.”
The old sports cliché will tell you that it’s tough to beat a team three times in one season. And heading into Thursday’s Division 3 first round game, the Vikings were hoping to prove that adage true.
But it wasn’t to be.
The Hornets, ranked No. 23, stepped up with the game on the line in the final quarter, and got a great effort in net from senior goalie Andrew Peppe — a CAL All-Star selection — to earn a 9-6 win on the road over No. 10 Triton Thursday evening. It was North Reading’s third win over Triton this spring, and ends the Vikings’ season at 10-9 overall.
“They’re the real deal,” said Rice.
North Reading (10-10) led 7-3 at halftime, but a Triton defense led by All-CAL selection Kyle Bouley stepped up in the second half. JP Trojan — who scored the game’s first goal after a pretty spin move and snipe — scored with 4:43 left in the third quarter, then got the hat-trick with 36 seconds left to make it a 7-5 game after three. And just 18 seconds into the fourth quarter, the sophomore found the back of the net again to make it just a one-goal game.
The younger brother of Triton girls lacrosse star Kate Trojan, JP gave the program plenty to look forward to in the future with his four-goal, one-assist game.
“JP played like he was a senior today and he’s only a sophomore,” said Rice. “He’s going to be a great player. When I told the kids the results of the CAL awards, the first thing he said was ‘I’m going to be First Team next year’ and that’s a hell of an attitude to have. So we’re excited about him.”
But after Triton cut it to a goal, North Reading responded.
Suny scored to give the Hornets some cushion, and Oliveira found the back of the net with 3:48 left to make it 9-6. Triton attackers like Trojan, Jared Leonard, brothers Seamus and Thomas Cahill and Dylan Angelopolus collectively got some looks late, but Peppe (15 saves) stood tall.
For Leonard, a St. Anselm commit, after a two-assist day on Thursday, his fantastic senior season ends with 98 points (66 g, 32 a). He is one of the four seniors the Vikings will be losing, along with Bouley, Angelopolus and defenseman Kenndy Madill
“Those guys are going to be extremely hard to replace,” said Rice. “We have one of the great scorers in Triton history, if not the greatest, in Jared Leonard, and then Kyle Bouley is one of the best defenseman we’ve ever had. So with those two guys, and then Kenny (Madill) has done a great job and D.A. (Dylan Angelopolus) did a bit of everything for us this year. We’ll miss those guys for sure.”
North Reading 9, Triton 6
Goals: JP Trojan 4, Dylan Angelopolus, Thomas Cahill
Assists: Jared Leonard 2, Trojan
Saves: Griffin Houlihan 6
North Reading (10-10): 3 4 0 2 — 9
Triton (10-9): 1 2 2 1 — 6