In a high intensity, defensive battle, the Brighton Bengals beat the Bingham Miners 5-3 on Wednesday in the First Round of the 2012 Boys D-I Playoffs.
Bingham controlled the opening face-off, settled the ball and took a long possession. The Brighton defense forced a turnover with midfielder Sam Snyder taking it to the offensive end and finding attackmen Matt Mangum who slotted it home for the goal at the 9:59 mark. Brighton added another point 50 seconds later on a goal by midfielder Elias Fairman who collected the ball at the midfield and drove it to the hole, shooting low. Brighton won the ensuing face-off but the Miners were able to force a turnover, clearing into their offensive end and taking a settled possession. The Miners worked it around with the ball ending up in the hands of midfielder Jordan Shumway who took it iso down the left side, cut, switched to his left hand and bounced it in.
Both teams continued to fight hard for every ground ball and possession. Brighton had a long possession that yielded several shots that were saved by Bingham Goalie Scott Bronson. Both teams defenses continued to force turnovers leading to a drought in scoring.
The second quarter started with a Brighton penalty on the face-off but the Bingham man-up unit was unable to capitalize. However, at the 9:30 mark, Bingham tied the game at 2 when attackmen Zach Kidd picked up a loose ball just outside of the crease, overpowered two Brighton defenders and slotted it home for the goal. Brighton answered a minute later when Fairman again found the back of the net off a nice screen. The Bingham defenders got confused and Fairman was left wide open, shooting it low and away. With a minute remaining in the half, Brighton was penalized for a crosscheck, leaving the Miners with another man-up opportunity. The Miners found space to shoot a shot, but it missed wide. On the restart, the Brighton defense pressured out and were able to knock the ball loose as the halftime whistle blew.
A Bingham crosscheck just seconds into the third quarter opened the door for Brighton but the Bengals were unable to get the ball past Bronson. Bingham tied the game at 3 with 5:08 left in the third quarter when attackmen Chris Severson found time and space and ripped a low to high shot into the top shelf of the goal. Brighton would end the quarter with most of the possession and several off target shots.
Brighton Midfielder Luke Fairman scored at the 10:22 mark to give Brighton a one goal advantage. The fans of both teams began to get louder, cheering for their squad as the intensity increased on the field. A Bingham slash with 3:51 remaining proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Miners as Mangum found the back of the net on a well executed man-up play. Play continued to go back and forth with both defenses clamping down. With 40 seconds remaining, Bingham had a one-on-one opportunity but Brighton Goalie Quinton Mathie made the save. Bingham had two more chances to score but both shots sailed wide of the net. With just seconds remaining, Mathie left the crease, collected a loose ball and heaved it to the other end where time expired.
“We just wanted to play 48 minutes of Brighton lacrosse,” said Brighton Head Coach Brandon Horoba. “Bingham is an awesome team. That’s a great team that we just beat. We’re happy to be moving on to the next round.”
Elias Fairman and Mangum had 2 goals for the Bengals. Luke Fairman had a goal and an assist. Bronson made 18 saves for the Miners including several at point blank.
Coming into the game, Brighton had been averaging 10.1 goals per game and Bingham had been averaging 12.3 goals per game. It was clear that both teams defenses came to play.
“Brayden El-Bakri stood out tonight,” said Horoba. “We put him on Severson because he is one of the best attackmen in the state and he held him to a goal, well below what he’s normally doing. Their goalie was making some great saves.”
Brighton (13-4) will travel to Bountiful to take on the Braves on Saturday in the Quarterfinals of the playoffs. Bingham finished the season with a 13-6 mark, their best outing since 2005 when they went 13-4.
Pictures courtesy of Mykel Severson