WILKES-BARRE – With under 2 minutes to go in Tuesday's match, Coughlin's Travis Keil had an opportunity to give his team the lead. Unfortunately for the sophomore, his shot was off target, sailing over the net.
Less than a minute later, he had another chance that was nearly identical to the first.
This time, he connected from about 15 yards out with 54 seconds remaining in the game to lead the Crusaders to a 2-1 victory over Crestwood in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division I showdown at the Bog.
"After I missed that easy (goal) right there, I put my head down … I was frustrated. Then I just decided there's under a minute to go, it's time," said Kiel, who was mobbed by his teammates while walking off the field at the end of the match. "I just kept my head down because coach always tells us to keep your head down when you shoot and it just went in."
The season-opening win for Coughlin (1-0) came three days after the Comets (1-1) opened their season with a two-goal win over two-time defending division champion Dallas. Coughlin travels to Dallas for another big contest on Thursday.
"Every year, everyone's been getting better (in the conference)," Coughlin senior Justin Okun said. "No team is a cakewalk."
Tuesday's game was very physical by both sides from the start and there was no letup until the final siren to end the game. The toughness did seem to affect Crestwood more, however.
After already being called for a yellow card earlier in the game, a Comet player was given a second card with about 27 minutes left in the second half. A new PIAA rule states that any player given two yellow cards in the same match will now get a red card, instead of a soft red card.
This means the player is disqualified and his team has to play with just 10 on the field instead of 11 the rest of the game. With the soft red, the player was disqualified but didn't have to sit out the next game and his team wasn't shorthanded the rest of the game.
So the Comets were at a mismatch on the field, but still kept the Crusaders out of net for about 26 minutes by playing defensive-minded with seven players behind the ball. Crestwood even had a few opportunities to try to score, but came up empty during the disadvantage.
"We didn't plan for such a thing. They didn't know how to adjust to the system once we went to a man down," Comets coach Pat Upton said. "We knew Coughlin was going to be a tough opponent and the boys played their butts off. They came out. They were prepared. They were hungry. We were just dealt the wrong cards."
Okun scored the match's first tally with 16:00 remaining in the first half. He was lined up for a free kick and after it ricocheted off a few bodies, he netted the goal from about 20 yards out for a 1-0 lead.
"I just shot it and let it go. That's it," Okun said.
The Comets didn't waste much time evening the score. A little more than 3 minutes later, John Andrews had control of the ball and with Coughlin keeper Josh Featherman on the near side of the goal, Andrews had a shot and drilled it. Even though he was about 35 yards away, he nailed the shot on the far side of the net to tie the score at 1-1 with 12:45 left in the first half.
Coughlin 2, Crestwood 1
First half: 1. COU, Justin Okun, 16:00; 2. CRE, John Andrews, 12:45.
Second half: 1. COU, Travis Keil, :54.
Shots: CRE 9, COU 18; Saves: CRE 6 (Steven Rerick), COU 2 (Josh Featherman); Corners: CRE 0, COU 3.
Chris Edkins and Austin Harry scored a goal apiece in the second half to lead Lake-Lehman to a shutout victory over Wyoming Seminary.
Second half: 1. LL, Chris Edkins (direct kick), 29:04; 2. LL, Austin Harry, :49.
Shots: LL 4, SEM 2; Saves: LL 2 (Colin Masters), SEM 3 (Will Kozar); Corners: LL 2, SEM 4.
Chris Pawlenok and Brendan Leahigh combined on three first-half goals to lift the Royals to a home win. Pawlenok scored one on a Leahigh assist before setting up Leahigh for two goals.
Jordan Consagra equaled he score at 1-1 for the Patriots, while Ian Tracy netted a second-half goal.
Kenny Rexer also scored for Redeemer.
First half: 1. HR, Chris Pawlenok (Brendan Leahigh); 2. PA, Jordan Consagra; 3. HR, Leahigh (Pawlenok); 4. HR, Leahigh (Pawlenok).
Second half: 5. PA, Ian Tracy; 6. HR, Kenny Rexer (Rob Dougherty).
Richard Umana was in on the first five goals of the day for the Bulldogs, finishing with four goals and an assist in a road win.
Anthony Ramos added two goals and a helper while Arlinson Reyes had three assists.
Luke Height had a goal and an assist for the Grenadiers.
First half: 1. BER, Richard Umana (Anthony Ramos), 37:05; 2. BER, Umana (Zach Klinger), 19:37; 3. BER, Luke Henger (Umana), 13:20; 4. BER, Umana (Arlinson Reyes), :52.
Second half: 5. BER, Umana (Reyes), 25:40; 6. GAR, Luke Height (PK), 22:08; 7. BER, Andrew Woznock, 18:48; 8. GAR, Leizer Mero (Height), 6:49; 9. BER, Ramos, 2:31; 10. BER, Ramos (Reyes), :10.
Shots: BER 17, GAR 13; Saves: BER 12 (Erickson Vasquez), GAR 14 (Jesus Tlatenchi); Corners: BER 3, GAR 0.
Dave Stecco scored the only goal of the game, connecting with 22:00 left in the second half as Nanticoke eked out a victory.
Ed Lukowski assisted Stecco's goal.
Second half: 1. NAN, Dave Stecco (Ed Lukowski) 22:00.
Shots: WA 5, NAN 19; Saves: WA 15 (Aaron Carter), NAN 5 (Pioquinto Carmelo); Corners: WA 1, NAN 5.
Tristan Gibbons and James Gabrielle scored one goal apiece to lead MMI Prep to the victory.
James Lukachinsky scored the lone goal for the Hawkeyes.
First half: 1. MMI, Tristan Gibbons 34:24.
Second half: 2. MMI, James Gabrielle (Noah Beltrami), 33:38; 3. HA, James Lukachinsky (Ryan Richards), 1:26.
Shots: MMI 13, HAN 11; Saves: MMI 7 (Greg Yannes), HAN 8 (Joe Gagliardi); Corners: MMI 2, HAN 4.
In a game played Saturday, Andiry Molchanov and Malcolm Lumia each scored a goal in the first half to secure the victory for Wyoming Seminary.
Cal Lisman scored the lone goal for Meyers.
First half: 1. WS, Andiry Molchanov (Henry Cornell), 30:52; 2. WS, Malcolm Lumia (Dylan Bassham), 24:26; 3. MEY, Cal Lisman (Keith Ostrowski), 6:10.
Shots: MEY 3, SEM 7; Saves: MEY 5 (David Torres), SEM 2 (Andrew Drewchin); Corners: MEY 1, SEM 5.