LOCKPORT – Sean Flannery hasn’t had a hat trick yet this season.
He has, however, had multiple games in which he scored two goals.
Add Thursday’s match against arch-rival Lincoln-Way Central to that list, as the Lockport senior scored two goals in the first half, and the stingy Porters’ defense, along with goalie Luke Cibula, made them stand up in a 2-1 win.
Near the 18:00 mark of the first half, Lockport’s Dominic Williams got past Lincoln-Way Central goalie Ryan Marszalek and booted the ball toward the goal. The ball appeared to be heading into the goal, but Flannery gave it an extra kick just to be sure, and the Porters (10-2-1) took a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later, Flannery boomed a shot into the goal again, and Lockport led 2-0.
Later in the first half, Flannery had a chance at a hat trick, but his shot off a rebound went off the goal post.
“I have had four games with two goals this year, but I don’t have a hat trick yet,” Flannery said. “I’m not worried. I know it will come.”
The Knights (8-4), who handed Lockport its only regular-season loss last season when the Porters finished third in the state in Class 3A, kept the pressure on throughout the second half, finally scoring on a goal by Edward Rafacz at the 19:46 mark. Rafacz had two more shots on goal in the second half, but Cibula saved them both. He also made saves on two shots by Nico Espinoza and one by Dylan Maksa.
The Porters were well aware that Lincoln-Way Central beat them the previous season.
“I have been wanting to play this game for a long time,” Flannery said. “They beat us last year. I know there are some different players on both teams from last year, but we still wanted to beat them pretty bad.
“I feel like, even with losing some players from last year, that we are coming together pretty well. I think this year’s team is pretty solid, too.”
The game was very physical, with players on both teams crashing into each other trying to gain an advantage.
“That’s what I expect out of a Lockport-Lincoln-Way Central game,” Lockport coach Chris Beal said. “It’s always a scrap and a battle when we play each other.
“They have beaten us the last two years, so it was nice to come out of this one with a win.”
Lincoln-Way Central coach Dave Brown echoed Beal’s sentiments.
“When these two teams get together, it’s always an 80-minute battle,” Brown said. “It’s a tightly-contested match and you have to be ready to go from the start.
“The first 40 minutes we were a little tentative. Maybe it was playing on grass for the first time, maybe it was because it was a 4:30 start instead of a night game, I don’t know. But we let up two goals, and you can’t do that against Lockport. In the second half, our kids dug deep and battled, but we just came up one play short.”