Dansey got his shot at a game-winner Wednesday night and took advantage, galloping down the field on a fast break and firing the decisive goal in Chantilly’s 9-8 win over AAA Northwest Section champion Battlefield in the Virginia semifinals at Westfield.
The Chargers advanced to play Madison, which beat Dominion, 9-4, in the other semifinal.
“I always envision it in close games, me having the winning goal,” Dansey said. “I’d much rather picture a blowout in my imagination, but Battlefield’s a [heck] of a team.”
It was the second time in as many years that the Chargers (20-2) punched their ticket to the state championship game with a semifinal win against the Bobcats (20-1). The two teams battled back and forth through six lead changes and six ties before Dansey buried the game-winner with just under six minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
While it was the Chargers’ defenseman who scored the game-winner, it was Chantilly goalie Patrick Meehan who got to play the hero in the game’s final minute, making a pair of impressive saves from near-point blank range to preserve the victory. The saves were a shot at redemption of sorts for Meehan, who made what he called “the worst play of my career, by far” when he dropped the ball instead of clearing it in the final seconds of the third quarter, allowing Battlefield’s Zach Windsor to score on an open net.
“I’m not one to drive for retribution. I’m steady minded to get through the game the entire way,” said Meehan, who finished with 10 saves. “You got to have that level-headedness the entire time, you got to treat every shot like the last one you’ll ever see. Obviously you can get a little gusto with the last ones.”
Meanwhile, Madison continued its push with its most lopsided win since a 10-2 win over Langley in the Liberty District final last month. Since a mid-April slump saw them lose five of six, the Warhawks (17-5) have been on a roll.
“A lot of people lost hope in us. I think everyone outside of the locker room, besides the kids on the team and the coaches, probably thought that we weren’t really going anywhere,” said midfielder Kyle Rowe, who won 12 of 17 faceoffs Wednesday. “We never lost faith. We got healthy and it just makes this so much sweeter knowing we were pretty much the only people who believed in us.”
The win over the AA Northern Section champions was not without tense moments for the Warhawks. After building a four-goal lead midway through the third quarter, the Titans (15-6) slowly crept their way back, shrinking the Warhawks’ lead to two early in the fourth quarter.
Madison responded, finishing the game on a three-goal run to bury Dominion and punch the Warhawks’ first ticket to the state championship. Madison senior Kyle Mancini did the lion’s share of scoring, netting a game-high five goals, including the first two and final two. Madison also got an assist from goalie Matt Hayden, who also put a shot on goal and carried the ball past midfield multiple times for the Warhawks.