With less than three minutes to go Thursday night against Robinson, Chantilly goalie Patrick Meehan found himself with a few yards of turf between himself and Rams attacker Johnny Daniel. Daniel was coiled, poised to fire a shot that could cut his team’s deficit to one.
Daniel fired a bullet, low and fast, and Meehan dropped his stick to it. For a moment, the ball disappeared, smothered. Not a second later, it reappeared, hurtling through the air toward the Chargers’ offensive zone, traveling four-fifths of the field and into the stick of attackman Colin Zimmerman, who promptly fed fellow frontman Ryan Rizzo, who buried it. The two-goal swing proved the difference as Chantilly held off Robinson, 7-5, in an early-season Concorde matchup.
“I wasn’t really expecting that ball to come to me,” Rizzo said of Meehan’s full-field fling. “He’s always looking for that extra guy.”
Meehan’s quick clears consistently followed stunning saves. On a few occasions, a Robinson shooter charged in front of Meehan’s net and wound up for a point-blank shot only to be stifled by a perfectly positioned stick.
“I get kind of excited,” Meehan said. “If you play an inside close shot right, it can really help you out. . . . Normally, if they’ve got some heat on it, I have a tendency to end up in the way.”
Meehan ended up in the way of 15 shots by game’s end, plenty of saves given the flashy goals his teammates scored on the other end.
Zimmerman and David Zaman each scored while diving around the post, moves that impressed Meehan as much as anyone.
“I was so happy, I was almost speechless,” Meehan said. “They cover so much ground so quickly. Usually, when [a goalie is] on the pipe, he has three or four steps he goes through. They cover all your steps in about half a second.”
Those goals fired up the Chantilly bench in the second half as Robinson tried to close the gap.
“You don’t think about [diving],” Zaman said. “You think, ‘I have a step on my man. I see the goal, I can take it and it all comes together.’ When it works, it’s just so much energy as a team.”
Though it took Chantilly (3-0) more than a quarter to control possession and find the rhythm it needed to turn quick clears into transition goals, Meehan stymied enough attempts from Robinson (1-2) to make the lead stand up.
“He’s the foundation of our team,” Rizzo said. “Not only on the field but outside of games and in practice, he gets everyone’s spirits up. He’s a great, great team leader.”