Assistant Sports Editor
BENNINGTON -- Marcus LaFlamme tallied a hat trick in just five minutes during the first half against Drury on Wednesday, then added his fourth in the second half, to propel the Mount Anthony Union High School Patriots to a comfortable 4-0 at Spinelli Field.
The Patriots would control the pace of the game from the start, pushing the Blue Devils deep into their defensive zone before piling on shot after shot on net.
But it would take until the 25th minutes before LaFlamme could finally put one past Drury keeper Joe Liporace.
Brad Anair played LaFlamme on in the play, sending a ball from deep over the top of the Drury defense. LaFlamme was able to use his speed to run onto the ball before firing home into the lower right side of the net.
"He is the striker," coach Mike Molloy said. "He is the guy we try to funnel the ball and feed to. One or two [goals] a night is a good night's work. I don't know the last time someone has scored four goals for Mount Anthony."
After LaFlamme got the first one in, things started rolling for the junior forward.
His next would come less than three minutes later. This time, Isaac Salem would provide the pass to open up the defense. Sliding the ball on the ground through the middle of the pitch, LaFlamme got onto it and then rifled a shot home at the near side, making it 2-0.
"He was where he was supposed to be to finish the shots," Molloy said.
His third goal, though, came through a moment of individual brilliance.
With the ball on the right side of the net and hugging the touchline, LaFlamme played the ball back into the box on his left. With a defender in his way, LaFlamme ran out of bounds to the right, came back in around the defender, got back on the ball and was able to put it home for a 3-0 lead, less than five minutes after he scored the opener.
The Patriots would keep coming close to adding more goals, but Liporace came up with some huge saves for the Blue Devils, even drawing applause out of the Patriots home crowd.
"Joe has come a long way," Drury coach Greg Caproni said. "Three years ago, he played one of his first varsity games up here. This year, he is holding us in there. If it wasn't for him, we would give up a lot more goals."
In the second half, Anair would see a trio of early chances go begging, while players like Ethan Anderson, Nathan Blue, Owen Page, Blake Greenawalt, and a host of others helped dicate play for the Patriots out of the midfield.
"It is our system, our team," Molloy said. "We can send in reinforcements and everyone contributes. It doesn't matter who is out there, we are doing the same thing and playing our game."
LaFlamme would cap off the scoring with just under 16 minutes left.
Dancing through the Drury penalty area, LaFlamme would lose possession, only to get it back and slot home.
In the dying moments of the game, Greenawalt was denied on a spectacular save from Liporace. Greenawalt sent his shot low and across the face of goal. It seemed destined for the far corner, but Liporace was able to dive to the ground and gobble the ball up.
The Patriots are now 6-2 on the year, while Drury falls to 3-6. Mount Anthony plays next on Friday at Hartford in a potential Marble Valley League decider. Both teams are at 3-1 in the league.