By KEN MORSE
Logan Miller wrestled away a possession around midfield with just 20 seconds left in overtime as a persistent rain fell on the soaked Tinty Stadium turf. Last Tuesday’s showdown with (8-4-2) Bristol Central was knotted, 3-3, and tensions were running high in this Patriot Division South battle.
Both teams may have felt a tie was better than a loss at that point, but Patrick Gryczewski the Blue Devils speedy forward had other ideas, as he took a pass from Miller and made a charge towards the Bristol Central end of the field.
With the clock at his back, not being able to tell how much time was left, Gryczewski had to try and maintain his dribble of the slick ball with a pair of defenders just a step behind. Approaching the 10-yard line, inside the box, Gryczewski wound up and sent a blast to the right of the diving keeper. The ball settled into the back of the net with just three seconds left on the clock.
The Blue Devils sideline erupted after witnessing their junior teammate complete the hat trick (3 goals) with the game-winner in a stunning, 4-3 victory over the Rams.
“We knew we couldn’t ever give up,” said Gryczewski. “Last time we played them we had the lead, but they came back and took it from us. There was no way we were going to have that happen again, not on our home field. It just felt great seeing it go to the back of the net.”
“What Patrick achieved with that goal is one of the hardest things to do,” said Plainville head coach Tim Brown. “Not only do you have the defense bearing down on you and the goal keeper coming out to defend, you have to try and keep your composure…To be able to slot that in, takes a special kind of player to deliver in that kind of situation, and Patrick is certainly that kind of player.”
Plainville lost, 5-2, to Bristol Central earlier in the season but came into this contest having won four in a row with three straight shutouts. The defense of Brady Beausoleil, Jens Wadehn, Tucker Rau and Reno Lausier out in front of keeper Joe Raimondi has been nothing short of sensational during the winning streak.
Miller assisted Gryczewski on a quick goal in the first minute of the game before the defenses took over. Tanner Rau, Gavin Bravado, Trevor Rau and Nathan Cyr controlled the midfield and the run of the mill 1-0 game entered halftime.
The second half turned into a real seat grabber. With 21 minutes left in the game Carson Rivoira got one to go for the Rams to tie the game at 1-1. It was the first goal scored on Plainville in four games a span of 304 minutes of play.
The Rams struck again three minutes later when Xavier Browne put one in the net for a 2-1 advantage. Luis Fernando Arango and Aiden Payne came on to put a spark in the Blue Devil offense. Andrew Szymula lent a hand at midfield and Jacob Pierce added a presence of defense.
At the 14 minute mark Trevor Rau sent a pass to Gryczewski who battled his way through a fist full of jersey defense taking it to the far post to tie the game at 2-2. A minute later Bravado sent in a corner and Miller emerged from a pile up out in front to get it to the back of the net to open a 3-2 advantage for the Blue Devils.
The Rams got a corner opportunity of their own at the seven minute mark and Diego Naranjo sent it through a slew of players in the box to deadlock the game again at 3-3.
Raimondi (6 saves) was under attack in the final minutes of regulation and managed to knock one out of harms way with under a minute to play. The Rams had one more corner opportunity to claim the victory but as the ball settled in front of the net Wadehn booted it away.
Both teams had a couple of attempts in overtime until Gryczewski settled the matter in dramatic flair.
Plainville took on Bristol Eastern (13-0-2) last Friday to finish out the week and came up on the short side of a 4-0 final. The Blue Devils (8-6-1) will close out the regular season on Monday, hosting Berlin for senior night.