NEEDHAM, Mass. -- Wellesley attackman Peter Crane hadn't been doing much dodging at all during Wednesday's Bay State Conference rivalry showdown with Needham. But when the right moment came, the move was there and the shot was true.
Crane took a feed from teammate Adam Horelick, slipped past his man and buried the game-winner with 1:13 remaining in overtime as Wellesley completed an epic, fourth-quarter surge to upend the Rockets for a 10-9 victory at Memorial Park.
"We had the middie dodging down the alley and he moved it down to the attack who bumped it to me," explained Crane. "I just dodged my defender, got to five and five, and turned and shot. I saw it go five-hole and I was fortunate enough for it to go in."
That the game even required overtime is a story unto itself. The two teams battled back and forth throughout the first half, with goalies Lucas Davis (Needham) and Connor Darcey (Wellesley) standing out as the early stars. The Rockets took a 4-3 lead into the break courtesy of a man-up goal by Jamie McGill.
After a man-down goal by Crane set up by a beautiful end-to-end rush by Darcey, Needham exploded in the third with a 4-0 run. Mark Riley, Nico Panepinto (four assists), Alex Mirageas and McGill each scored to push the Rockets' advantage to 8-4.
Wellesley got one back as John Caraviello converted a feed from Horelick with 28 seconds left in the third, jumpstarting a 5-0 spurt that saw Nate Levin tie it and Horelick put the Raiders ahead for the first time since the first ten seconds of the second at 9-8.
Robbie Pisano completed his hat trick with 1:33 left in regulation to force the overtime, but Darcey (20 saves) made a pair of big stops with Needham dominating possession in the extra frame. Once Wellesley got it back, the ball found its way to Horelick and then Crane, who beat his man and snapped the game-winner.
"We drew that up, that's exactly how it's supposed to go," Horelick said of the final play. "Peter didn't have too many dodges this game and I think we all felt he could take his pole to the cage. I just gave it to him, I knew he was going to put it home. He went right past his man and it was a great goal."
FRUSTATING LOSS TO A RIVAL
The Rockets day started off with plenty of positives. Davis was terrific in the cage, stopping 17 shots in all. With the Raiders tough defense focused on defending standouts Riley and Panepinto, players like McGill and Pisano stepped up and combined for eight points.
"Our goaltending, I couldn't be more proud of Lucas Davis," praised Needham coach Dave Wainwright. "He played a great game, he's a fantastic boy, and its a pleasure and an honor to have him. I think he kept us in the game more than anyone on offense or defense did for him."
"We're definitely upset from the outcome," Wainwright continued. "We'll definitely learn from it but at some point we have to start executing better than we have."
CENTURY-OLD RIVALRY REACHES ALL SPORTS
The storied tradition of the football rivalry between the two towns needs no explanation as the longest-running public school clash in the nation.
The gridiron isn't the only place that tradition matters, however. Pick a sport in any season and at any time of the year and know that when Wellesley and Needham hook up, it matters.
"You grow up in Wellesley wanting to beat Needham in every sport you play," Crane said. "You play them from youth lacrosse on and every time its a big game. We weer really looking forward to this one and we were fortunate enough to get away with a win."
Raiders assistant coach Adam Pascal offered his passionate take on the tradition as well and the importance of the role the seniors play in each game.
"We told the kids this was a neighborhood game, you have to be the toughest kid on the block before you leave the neighborhood and Needham-Wellesley, this is one of the oldest rivalries there is," Pascal explained. "Down 8-4, Coach [Rocky Batty] and I just kind of looked at each other and said lets get some seniors on there. We put Adam Horelick down there. He's a senior, he's been playing for a couple of years, and that was the change in the game. Reed [Westerman] goes to defense, throws a big assist down there throwing the ball to another senior Peter Crane. And the last one was even Horelick spinning the ball to Crane.
Pascal continued, "We just needed to get some kids who played in big games before, know what it feels like to want to win the game, have some idea what it feels like to actually win the game and they just did it. Finally the kids just came together. That was the best performance...I think Connor Darcey played great, Ryan Cassidy, our whole defense. Offensively, that's great to see Peter get off there a bit and win the game and it feels great. They'll never forget it, Thanksgiving when they come back, they'll meet on that Wednesday and they'll be getting on Peter Crane for beating Needham."