One minutes 3 seconds off the clock. Three goals in the back of the net.
That’s the sequence of events Tuesday that led the Hickory Red Tornadoes to a road win Tuesday over rival St. Stephens. The Red Tornadoes scored three goals in a flurry to take control of the match, and they walked away with a 4-1 win over the Indians.
“I asked the boys to think quick and play quick,” said Hickory coach Brian Jillings. “After the first goal, we got more confidence, and that allowed us to relax a little bit more.”
The No. 4 Red Tornadoes improved to 4-0-0 against the Northwestern 3-A/4-A and remain unbeaten with a 12-0-2 overall record. The loss drops St. Stephens to 1-4-0 in conference play and 7-6-0 overall.
Hickory’s Michael Delong scored the first goal, assisted by Adam Betzweiser, in the 48th minute. Delong’s goal set off a wave of Hickory offense during the next minute of play.
Drew Collins gave Hickory a 2-0 lead 35 seconds after Delong’s goal, and Delong struck again 22 seconds later. The Red Tornadoes’ forward scored a team-high two goals in the win, and midfielder Betzweiser led with two assists.
“Forwards tend to be streaky,” Jillings said. “I don’t know what it is. The ball likes you some nights, and some nights not.”
Martin Meija scored Hickory’s fourth-straight goal of the night in the 62nd minute on an assist from Addison English. English and Carlos Sevilla both had one assist in the match, and Meija and Collins scored a goal apiece.
Hickory goalkeeper Julian Deutsch did not allow a goal in the win and had one save. St. Stephens’ Jon Holloway started in goal and had one save.
The scoring flurry at the beginning of the second half came after a lackluster first half ended with both teams tied at zero. Hickory put pressure on St. Stephens’ defense in the first 10 minutes, but the two teams found a balance attacking each other on both ends of the field.
“The first half, it was a fun game,” said St. Stephens coach Chris Nelson. “In the second half, they got that goal, and it seemed like we stopped and they played through.”
Hickory had a 10-7 shot advantage in the match.
The Indians had an opportunity in the first half when midfielder Tommy Vo’s shot hit the crossbar and deflected back into the penalty box.
St. Stephens’ Andrew Zachrich scored the Indians’ lone goal in the final minute of the match, and Jason Lee got the assist.