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Caz lacrosse survives Salmon River in OT, advances to state semis

If it sounds familiar - Cazenovia moving within two wins of a state championship with a tense, exciting one-goal victory over Salmon River - well, it is.

When the boys lacrosse Lakers needed John Greacen's goal 1:30 into overtime to fight past Salmon River 14-13 in Saturday's Class C regional final at Potsdam High School, it matched what the ice hockey Lakers did exactly three months ago when it beat the Shamrocks in the same round of the state playoffs.

Granted, the hockey game, won 4-3 by Cazenovia, didn't go to overtime, as this one did. But both contests required the Lakers to come from behind and handle late-game pressure, something that had become unfamiliar as Cazenovia's lacrosse side steamrolled to its first-ever Section III Class C title and an easy first-round regional win over Chenango Forks earlier this week.

With so many familiar faces on both sides eager to resume their hockey clash, Cazenovia threatened to run away early against Salmon River, a team that had dominated Section X play and was 17-0, but had not faced anything close to the level of competition the Lakers had dealt with in Central New York.

Through one period, the Lakers enjoyed a 6-1 lead as, once again, Greacen and Joe Nardella dominated in the face-off circle, giving Cazenovia's potent attack extra possessions and lots of scoring chances which it converted.

At this point, Salmon River switched goalies, inserting Cody Johnson, and his stops seemed to fire up the Shamrocks. For the rest of the half, Salmon River attacked hard, pushing through the Lakers' defenses for four goals in the late stages of the half and pulling within two, 8-6, as they went to the break.

The rest cooled off the Shamrocks a bit, as Cazenovia restored a 10-7 margin by the middle part of the third quarter. Just then, though, Salmon River started to roll again, picking up four straight goals to charge into the lead and getting another tally from Quinn Powless less than a second before the period ended.

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