By Dylan Butler
Billy Gaudette knew the odds were stacked against him. As a goalkeeper facing a penalty shot, he didn’t have too much in his favor.
When Rhode Island midfielder Zico Antunes, the leading scorer in the Premier Development League, stepped to the spot in the 48th minute, a fan on the hill behind the goal at the Metropolitan Oval yelled out, “He’s going to your left.”
Gaudette went right.
He was right as he robbed Antunes to secure a 1-1 tie for the Brooklyn Knights Sunday in a game between two of the most improved teams in the Premier Development League’s Northeast Division.
“It’s a shooter’s delight, and when you’re fortunate enough to get a hand on one of them, it’s a good feeling,” said Gaudette, who made six saves in the draw.
Referee Mike Constantine called for a penalty when Knights defender James Hunt was whistled for holding Antunes in the box. Antunes, who had five goals in two games, stepped to the spot but Gaudette dived to his right to keep the game tied at 1.
“You try and read something here and there, and I read his hip,” said Gaudette, a starter at St. John’s. “I thought he was going to open up, and he opened up and put it to my right. I took a little bit of a step that way and the ball was there, and I met it there the same time, so it worked out well.”
Brooklyn (1-0-1) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the game’s first minute when Chris Corcoran slotted Andre Schmid’s cross past Rhode Island keeper Peter Mahoney at the far post for his first goal of the year.
Rhode Island (2-0-1) tied the game in the 20th minute, capitalizing on a man-advantage. One minute after Knights midfielder Joe Afful was taken off the field after being bloodied battling for a 50-50 ball, Manny Brito tapped in David Ward-Smith’s corner at the far post to tie the game at 1.
Afful, a standout at St. Francis College, was taken to Wycoff Hospital in Brooklyn to tend to a gash in his forehead and another above his right eye.
“I’m upset with that result at home, but with Joe, a key central midfielder going down within 20 minutes of the game really caused us to make a lot of adjustments we didn’t want to do so early,” said Brooklyn Knights coach Dan Fisher. “But the team stuck together, got the job done defensively, and we missed a couple of sitters in front of goal. We just have to be sharper up top.”
The Knights had a pair of chances to score the golden goal winner, but Rinaldo Chambers’ point-blank shot was pushed away by Mahoney in the first 10-minute overtime period, and three minutes into the second overtime, Padraig Drew’s chip from 20 yards out was pushed over the crossbar by Mahoney.
“I thought we gave up an early goal and lost momentum early, but I thought the game was well-played. I thought it was a just result,” said Rhode Island coach Mario Pereira. “We created opportunities, and the Knights created opportunities as well. The game could have gone either way.”
The Knights conclude their three-game home stand Saturday at 7:30 p.m. when they host the Worcester Kings at the Metropolitan Oval.
Carolina Dynamo 1, New York Freedoms 0. The New York Freedoms went 0-for-2 in North Carolina over the weekend, losing their third straight game after a season-opening 4-1 win over the Westchester Flames.
The Freedoms return home Saturday at 8 p.m. to host the New Hampshire Phantoms.
Wilmington Hammerheads 4, New York Freedoms 2. After a scoreless first half, the Freedoms led 2-0 after 62 minutes on goals by Georges Haba and Rocky Bojovic, but host Wilmington came roaring back with four unanswered goals in the final 28 minutes to clinch the win Friday night.
Second-half substitute Junior Zarate netted a hat trick, and Jeff Johnson added another for Wilmington.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.