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Vikings second-half scoring shuts out Lumberjacks

Coming into George J. Vetter Stadium last night, the Grand Island Vikings and North Tonawanda Lumberjacks squared off for the second time. The Vikings won the first match up on Oct. 5, 2-1.

Wednesday night boys' soccer action has brought me to George J. Vetter Stadium. North Tonawanda set to face @GIVSoccer at 5. I'll provide updates to this game.@WNYAthletics — Jacob Fyock (@Jacob_Fyock) October 28, 2020

Vikings head coach Frank Butcher and his squad came into the game looking for a hot start. They began this season starting 5-0 and since then went 2-3-1 in their last six games.

Butcher’s game plan was similar when these two teams last played, but as the season went along injuries piled up and adjustments had to be made.

“We had to put some guys in spots that usually we like to have a little more experience in. The younger guys have stepped up,” said Butcher.

Possession of the ball and passing was strong for Grand Island. The first 10 minutes of the game saw them being patient and found passing windows to the outside of the field. This created crossing passes to set up scoring in the box.

It was consistent until he final minute of the first half. With 53 seconds left, Lumberjacks senior midfielder Nolan Anson blasted a shot and Vikings senior goalkeeper Sam Carpenter made an incredible save. Keeping the game scoreless heading into the half.

Once the second half started it did not take long for Grand Island to respond. In the 50th minute, junior midfielder Sean Graham drilled his 3rd goal of the season off a free kick. He shot low against the line of defense, flying past the left side of Lumberjacks sophomore goalkeeper Jaedon Zalewski and into the net.

Grand Island’s offense exploded from there and came out with force. Junior midfielder Jacob Jayme went down the field and booted one that would hit the right side of the crossbar. Zalewski was in a vulnerable spot as the ball found the feet of freshmen midfielder Kyto Magee. Magge blasted one and Zalewski got himself into position for an incredible save.

Eight minutes after the first goal, senior midfielder Josh Hunt buried his shot off a rebound to pick up his 11th goal of the season, putting Grand Island up 2-0. Hunt’s teammate Sean McMann tried to get his team up two scores, but Zalewski made the save as he went to the ground. Hunt then grabbed the rebound and scored while Zalewski was out of position.

“I don’t know you’ll find a person that works harder than Josh Hunt in Western New York,” Butcher Said.

The Vikings continued their onslaught to put the game out of reach. They could not extend their lead but did enough to prevent North Tonawanda from producing offensive chances. The final whistle went, sending Grand Island home with a 2-0 victory.

Grand Island moves to 8-3-1 on the year and are now 8-2-1 in the NFL Frontier Division. They are set to face Kenmore West this Friday morning at 10:00 am.

North Tonawanda falls 5-5 on the season and 5-5 in league play. The Lumberjacks will take on Niagara Falls this afternoon at 4:30 pm.

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