By Rick Assad
One had a strong sense it was going to be a nail-biter in a boys’ water polo match based on the overall record of Burbank High and host Hoover.
The Bulldogs came in with a 9-3 mark, the Tornadoes were 10-4 and it kicked off Pacific League action for both teams.
Nip and tuck it went from when the referee dropped the ball into the water and it seemed the visitors had too much offense and defense as they pulled out an 8-6 victory before a capacity crowd on a warm Tuesday as junior Daniel Agazaryan paced the Bulldogs with three points that was spread out over the first three quarters.
Junior Avet Avetisyan added two tallies while senior Andranik Bilbulyan, senior Alex Kobalyan and sophomore Jack Babelyan all tossed in one goal for Burbank.
The Tornadoes, who were shut out in the first period and fell behind 3-0, were led by David Tarkhchyan’s three goals that included two in the fourth frame.
Burbank senior goalie Alec Chalkdzhyan was superb in the net, blocking at least a half-dozen shots and saving several others.
“We played well. They didn’t score in the first quarter,” Burbank coach David Arakelyan said. “We are a very counter-heavy team. We couldn’t counter today due to the pool being very small.”
The scoring began when Babelyan found the range on a seven-yarder with 4:29 left for a 1-0 edge.
It became 2-0 after Agazaryan located the back of the goal from five yards with 1:33 left on the clock for a 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs (10-3 and 1-0 in league) shuffled ahead 3-0 on a six-yard toss from Avetisyan as three seconds remained in the opening period.
Burbank, which was outshot 26-25 by Hoover, extended its cushion to 4-0 on a five-meter penalty toss by Agazaryan with 5:32 left in the second period.
The Tornadoes (10-5 and 0-1 in league) closed within 4-2 with goals from Tarkhchyan on a five-yard toss as 4:26 remained and a tally from Harutyun Khachatryan from seven yards with 37 seconds left in the half.
The Bulldogs outscored the Tornadoes 4-2 in the third period as Bilbuyan knocked in a tally from five yards with 3:32 left as the visitors moved ahead 5-3 and then led 6-3 on a six-yarder from Avetisyan with 2:03 on the clock.
Burbank scored the final two goals of the frame when Kobalyan nailed a nine-yarder with 1:27 on the ticker that made it 7-4 and a 12-yarder from Agazaryan with 38 seconds on the clock for an 8-4 edge.
Arthur Tarkhchyan started the scoring in the third period when he found the net on a 10-yarder and 6:07 left that cut the advantage to 4-3.
Armen Tarakhchyan added a goal in the same quarter from five yards with 1:50 left as Hoover came within 6-4.
The Tornadoes put the ball into the net twice in the fourth period as David Tarkhchyan nailed a 23-yarder with 5:30 left to shave the lead to 8-5 and then made a five-meter penalty shot with 2:13 remaining as the hosts drew within two goals.