In a game dominated by defense, somebody from the Lockport boys water polo team had to step up and take charge in the fourth quarter.
Jake Speechley answered that call.
With the Porters down one going into the fourth, Speechley scored three goals to push Lockport to a 6-4 nonconference win at St. Charles North. He finished with four goals.
Speechley was called up late in the season two years ago when the Porters made their run to the state finals, and he credits that experience for how he handled Thursday’s tough situation.
“Having that experience is huge, to play in that atmosphere,” Speechley said. “In games like this, that helps a lot.”
Both defenses were dominant, making goals a tough go. But early on, it was St. Charles North (3-3) with the edge. John Pretet and Nick Traxle scored to open a 2-0 lead. Speechley answered for Lockport, but Pretet scored the only goal of the second quarter to give the North Stars a 3-1 lead at the break.
Lockport’s Matt Olisnki, who was called up along with Speechley for that state trip two years ago, and Zach Elias sandwiched a Traxle goal in the third quarter to leave North with a 4-3 lead.
From there, it was Speechley’s time to shine. He scored on a penalty shot with 4:44 left, put in a power play goal at the 3:29 mark to give Lockport the lead and then added a goal with 1:57 left for good measure.
“Jake steps up,” Lockport coach Joe Lewandowski said. “It’s nice when you can play with guys that have played at that level (at state) because he keeps it calm. He doesn’t rush.”
Speechley’s offense garners the headlines, but it was defense that won it for the Porters. They allowed only one goal in the second half, with goalie Tyler Trench anchoring the back end.
“This was a great challenge for us,” Lewandowski said. “We were able to step it up a little bit. We were able to take control of it on the back half. Our defense won the game.”
For St. Charles North, it was yet another close loss. The North Stars’ three losses have come by a combined four goals.
“We’re getting some experience in close games, and I think it’s going to pay off at the end of the season,” North coach Chris Cloy said. “We played really well. Lockport played just a little bit better today.”