The first team took on top Long Island side Port Jefferson in the first of a Randalls Island doubleheader, but the tense scoreless draw ended badly in a 5-4 penalty shootout defeat.
The Rocks had dominated the 90 minutes, but couldn’t find a way through. That trend continued with the first penalty of the shootout, which Sean Riley failed to convert.
The Rocks were flawless after that, Michael McGreevy, Darren Freeman, Zach Gosse and Chuong Tran all hitting the net, but Port Jefferson always had the edge and advanced to the semifinals.
“We dominated the game, but we lacked the composure in the final third,” said coach Kevin Grogan. “We are building a team and squad and everything is a learning curve for these players. We have a short and long-term plan and we are moving in the right direction.
“A special thanks and well done to James Wright, our stand-in goalkeeper today for a fantastic display and a great attitude towards the club,” he added. “We have the biggest game of the season next week and we are buzzing for the challenge.”
Meanwhile the Rocks 1960 were very unfortunate in their 2-2 draw against fellow Metro 2 divisional leaders Gottschee, conceding a late goal to send the game to a penalty shootout.
A brilliant Dave Harvey brace had the Rocks in control from early in the first half, but Gottschee scored in injury time after having opened the scoring early on.
Neil Mannion scored his penalty and Robbie O’Neill saved brilliantly, but it wasn’t enough as Gottschee advanced to the quarterfinals, allowing the Rocks to defend their Saunders Cup in the spring.
“We’re obviously devastated to lose in that fashion,” said Mannion. “But we’ll regroup and look to finish on a high note next weekend before the winter break. It’s not about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and get back up.”