Source: Ben Spicer - Daily TimesReaction from HC Josh Keeney and Northwest players following their 6-1 win.
WAVERLY – One thing has been a constant for Northwest this season: offense.
Time and time again, the Mohawks have shown they are capable of putting points on the board, often times at a rapid pace.
That is, except against one opponent. On Sept. 13, Northwest totaled just one goal, albeit it in a 1-0 win over North Adams. It was by far their lowest scoring output of the season, but fortunately fate has a funny way of working out sometimes.
The Mohawks got another shot at the Green Devils in the district tournament finals in Waverly on Thursday night, and this time their offense was back to thriving. Northwest got the win over North Adams 6-1, and are advancing to the regional tournament to take on South Webster.
In a season where Northwest has yet to lose, the Mohawks have seen it all from their opponents. All sorts of defensive and offensive looks have greeted them, as well as different styles of play, and just about everything to try and knock Northwest from the pedestal of unbeaten teams.
This match proved to pose another challenge, as the Green Devils looked to be very physical and take the Mohawks out of the match. That strategy backfired, as North Adams had two yellow cards and two red cards, and allowed five goals in the first half.
“We talked about it all week in practice that they were going to be physical, they were going to foul,” Northwest head coach Josh Keeney said. “They were going to try and stop play as many times as they could to try and slow us down, our success has been in speed and high tempo games, we knew coming in that was going to happen.”
“Our guys did a really good job of keeping their heads and keeping in the game plan, and we ended up scoring and getting a real good boost of two and three right in a row that put us up and helped us out.”
Tyler Webb kicked off the surge of scoring just four minutes into the match when Evan Throckmorton found him for a score. There was still 76 minutes to play, and the Mohawks had already matched their scoring output from the first time they played North Adams.
The physicality was consistent from the Green Devils throughout, and it proved to be costly in the 25th minute. Webb was taken down in the box, and Harald Rundquist sank a penalty kick to put Northwest up 2-0.
“They were physical,” Mohawks senior Mason Campbell said. “Playing against people like that, you really just got to take it and you really can’t do anything with it.”
Northwest took everything North Adams threw their way, but played with some toughness of their own on defense. The Green Devils weren’t given many chances, and when they had a shot in the 29th the Mohawks were aided on a diving save from Billy Crabtree.
That Crabtree save was beneficial for Northwest’s favor, as a minute later Throckmorton added another score for the Mohawks in the 30th minute. The offense was rolling, and Northwest now held a 3-0 edge.
Continuing to apply the pressure on offense, Webb found Rundquist a minute later for another goal. The Mohawks moved quickly, and attacked to take a 4-0 lead in the 31st minute.
The scoring didn’t cease in the first half there, though.
Webb streaked down the right sideline with under two minutes to play in the first half. He sent a pass backwards to Throckmorton, who sent a beautiful curving ball to the head of Rundquist, who headed home the fifth goal of the first half for Northwest.
“We knew they were going to pack the middle and were going to put extra guys back,” Keeney said. “We knew the only way we were going to get goals was to play from inside-out, and play the wide ball.”
“Evan, of course Evan being Evan all year, played that ball out wide to Harald and Harald finished like he has all year.”
At halftime, the Mohawks led North Adams 5-0.
After the halftime speeches were concluded and the second half got underway, the Green Devils showed they weren’t laying down lightly. North Adams sent a goal in at the 42nd frame in the second half, but that would be the only score they would record on the match.
“The defense, they really stepped up,” Campbell said. “[North Adams] had one ball the whole game I think that they actually sent through that they obviously scored on, but other than that our defense buckled down and they played a really good game.”
Northwest was able to give some younger players some experience, and two sophomores reaped the benefits in the 77th to put another point up for the Mohawks. Jacob Eichenlaub split the defense, and Alex Deemer hit him for an easy hookup.
As the clock struck zero, the celebration began and reality set in: The Northwest Mohawks were going to regionals with a 6-1 victory.
“Coach is happy with it, I’m happy with it, and the whole team is happy with it,” Northwest senior Austin Speer said. “I’m just happy we made it this far, so hopefully we can keep it going.”
The Mohawks received ribbons and a trophy to commemorate their achievements, and they have plenty to be proud about.
“It feels good,” Keeney said. “First time in a long time, I guess since 1993 that we’ve been there. I’m really not thinking about that right now, I’m thinking about being district champions and we’re going to celebrate for a few days.”
Once the celebration is concluded, it will be back to work for Northwest. They’ll be facing a fellow SOC school in the South Webster Jeeps in regionals on Wednesday.
“Congratulations to the Jeeps as well, they are a class act and I’m glad to see two SOC teams in regional play,” Keeney said. “Really looking forward to the matchup.”
“I hope we keep rolling,” Campbell said. “Keep going all the way. Why stop here when we’ve got state to go to?”
4th minute: Tyler Webb goal assisted by Evan Throckmorton (1-0 NW)
25th minute: Harald Rundquist penalty kick (2-0 NW)
30th minute: Evan Throckmorton unassisted goal (3-0 NW)
31st minute: Harald Rundquist goal assisted by Tyler Webb (4-0 NW)
39th minute: Harald Rundquist goal assisted by Evan Throckmorton (5-0 NW)
42nd minute: North Adams goal (5-1 NW)
77th minute: Jacob Eichenlaub goal assisted by Alex Deemer (6-1 NW)
Reach Benjamin Spicer at (502)264-7318 on Twitter @BSpicerPDT or at Facebook.com/ReporterBenSpicer