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Boys Water Polo: Andrew rallies past Bremen co-op

Bremen's Gabe Stein-Rojas reaches for ball before Andrew's Eric Tamulonis can get it. | Jean Lachat~For Sun-Times Media

Bremen's Gabe Stein-Rojas reaches for the ball before Andrew's Eric Tamulonis can get to it. | Jean Lachat~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 21, 2013 6:48AM



Andrew has an inexperienced squad with a new coach, but the Thunderbolts play like seasoned veterans when games get tight.

“We haven’t given up a goal in the fourth quarter all year,” Andrew goalie Kevin Bukauski said. “We have the best-conditioned team and a strong bench, and we play great late in games.”

The Thunderbolts took their late-game shutout streak to another level Tuesday, holding Bremen co-op scoreless in the second half to rally from a 5-2 deficit for a 6-5 win in Tinley Park.

Alex Batuello scored the game-winner on a skip shot with 2:11 left. The Thunderbolts defense took it from there, with Bukauski making two key saves.

“I harp on defense,” Andrew coach Krzysztof Kowal said. “The kids have bought into focusing on defense and letting that lead to offense instead of just wanting to shoot all the time.”

Batuello and Tim Yara scored twice each for Andrew (3-1). Bukauski made 10 saves.

Quinn Johnson led Bremen (6-4) with three goals.

The Silver Snakes were upset with a few calls down the stretch. There was some debate over whether Johnson’s penalty shot with 2:22 left hit the back of the net inside the post or hit the post and stayed out. It was ruled no goal.

“That definitely went in — and it would have been nice to have,” Bremen coach Craig Cappel said. “(Andrew) beat us down the pool for maybe half the last quarter and that’s how we lost.”

Batuello and Shaun Emerson scored the only goals of the third quarter to pull Andrew to within one. Nick Brancato’s power-play goal early in the fourth tied it.

Zack Zdnavicius and Jacob Sagan also scored for Bremen. Tony Zdnavicius made nine saves.

Andrew gained a measure of revenge for its upset loss to Bremen in last year’s sectional quarterfinals.

“The kids had this one circled on their calendars,” Kowal said.



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