NORWALK — Brien McMahon goalie Pete Ripperger’s senior lacrosse season didn’t begin the way he had hoped.
It has all but ended in the best way imaginable, however.
Ripperger made 17 saves, including eight in the fourth quarter, as the Senators defeated arch-rival Norwalk 8-5 at Casagrande Field on Thursday night.
“It was the last game on this field and I wanted to go out and leave everything I had out on the field,” Ripperger said. “I just wanted to end it with a bang.”
The returning starter for the Senators was forced to miss the first five games of the 2018 season due to personal reasons.
Once he returned and won back the starting job he had as a junior, he’d been under constant fire, as the Senators had struggled through some growing pains this season, winning just three games.
Against Norwalk, though, McMahon bounced back from a 2-1 second-quarter deficit to win their penultimate game of the season.
Jack Froelich netted four goals to lead the Senators.
“We’ve had a bit of trouble scoring goals lately, so for one guy picking up four, that’s a big deal,” McMahon coach Jon Dana said.
Froelich’s second tally, coming with 4:10 left in the second quarter, snapped a 2-2 tie and gave McMahon the lead for good.
He later added the first two goals of the second half, turning a 4-2 McMahon edge into a 6-2 lead.
Ian Campbell added two goals for the Senators while Niklas Wilson and Bret Rodgers added single tallies.
For the Bears, Dale Donovan scored twice while Dante Solano, AJ Hall and Michael Propersi netted single goals. Goalkeeper Patrick Ruther made 10 saves.
— John Nash (@NikonNash) May 18, 2018
BEARS GET RIPP’D OFF
Ripperger saved his best for last as he dominated the fourth quarter, especially as his Senators teammates stacked up the penalties.
McMahon was hit with more than seven minutes in penalties in that fourth quarter, including two two-minute non-releasable penalties.
“I definitely thought I had to raise my level, but I had a lot of guys around me and they stayed tight,” Ripperger said. “I saw the shots I needed to see.”
“He did great,” Dana added. “When he’s on, man, he’s hard to beat and he was playing on his head. He made some big saves to make sure they didn’t pick up any momentum.”
And the Senators tried hard to give Norwalk some momentum.
The Bears did cut an 8-2 score to 8-3 when the first Senator was hit with a two-minute penalty, but wouldn’t connect again.
“I think it’s a combination of two things,” Norwalk coach Glenn Adams said. “One, our shot selection wasn’t that great, but you have to tip your hat to Pete. He stood on his head. A good goalie makes 50 percent of his saves, and he must have made 70. He had a great game.”
At one point, the Senators had a second two-minute non-releasable penalty and two one-minute infractions on the sideline. Two 30-second procedure penalties stacked up the punished players outside of the box until release.
“I’ve never seen that in my life and I hope to never see it again,” Dana said.
The logjam at midfield led to a 6-on-4 advantage for the Bears with Ripperger the last line of defense behind Senators defenders Rocco Luppino, Gavin McGee and Andrew Trujillo.
“The defense, the big thing was reiterating to them to communicate,” Dana said. “When you have three guys defending six, if you’re not talking, somebody is getting lost and scoring. It was pretty impressive.”
GAME MVPS AND OTHER NOTES
Ripperger was named the MVP for McMahon while Donovan was lauded for Norwalk … McMahon, which improved to 4-11, closes its season on Saturday with a 2 p.m. matchup at Westhill … Norwalk finishes the season at 4-12 … McMahon has now defeated Norwalk 12 times over the last 13 years … The game was a fundraiser for #MikeyStrong, a benefit effort honoring 11-year-old Michael Schneider, a Rowayton boy who has been diagnosed with metastatic neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nervous system growing in his adrenal gland. More than $210,000 has been raised on his behalf.