May 05, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Exactly five weeks from now, there’s a good chance that the Jamesville-DeWitt boys lacrosse team will find itself at St. John Fisher College in suburban Rochester, playing for a third state Class B title in four years.
If so, Section II powerhouse Niskayuna may serve as the opponent, and judging by their encounter on Saturday night, it could prove quite special.
J-D, the top-ranked team in the state, and Niskayuna, in the no. 2 spot, battled closely all the way to the final horn – but it was the Silver Warriors that came out on top, 10-9, when the Red Rams’ attempt to force overtime in the waning seconds fell short.
In racing to a 13-0 start and that top spot in the state poll, J-D had rarely faced a close call, except for a 15-14 overtime victory over CBA on April 5. And the previous two Saturdays, the Rams had roared past two big road tests, beating West Genesee (12-4) and Fairport (17-9) to solidify its top spot.
Meanwhile, Niskayuna, seeking to become the first-ever state champion from Section II in any class, carried its own 11-0 mark into the game. Like J-D, the Silver Warriors had rarely been challenged in those 11 games.
Given all the anticipation, the game somehow matched the hype. They played to a 2-2 first-quarter tie, Niskayuna able to slow down J-D’s vaunted attack enough to get the tempo it wanted.
Then the Silver Warriors moved out in front during the second period, going to the break with a slim 5-4 edge. The problem for J-D was that its attack had turned one-dimensional, depending too much on Jordan Evans, who had three of the Rams’ four first-half goals.
Early in the third quarter, J-D stayed quiet as Niskayuna doubled its lead to two, 6-4. Finally, the Rams got going late in that period, getting goals from Griffin Feiner and Ryan McKee to tie it before Evans’ fourth goal gave the hosts a 7-6 edge with one quarter left.
Once again, though, the Rams slowed down, and Niskayuna traded goals until seizing a 9-8 lead late in regulation. Frustrated, J-D drew a penalty, and in the Silver Warriors’ man-up situation, Lucas Maloney poured in his fourth goal past Joe Shapiro with 49 seconds to play.
Trailing 10-8, the Rams won the ensuing face-off and saw defender Scott Firman charge to the net, taking a well-timed pass from Mike Engstrom and firing it pas Niskayuna goalie Evan Quinn with 31 seconds left to cut the margin back to one.
Niskayuna got the next face-off, but J-D forced a turnover and, with 6.5 seconds left, called a time-out to set up a possible tying goal. The Rams never got a shot, though, as the Silver Warriors forced one more turnover and time expired.
Feiner, with two goals and one assist, was the lone J-D player other than Evans to find the net more than once. Jeff Edwards joined McKee and Firman with single goals as Conal Brady, Mike Perkins and Lucas Johnson had one assist apiece.
Shapiro recorded 15 saves, while Quinn had 10 saves. While Maloney had those four goals, it was Mike D’Amario, with three goals and three assists, that anchored the Silver Warriors’ attack as Luke Goldstack added two goals and two assists.
J-D only has two regular-season games left, with trips to Fulton on Tuesday and Cortland on Thursday, giving the Rams lots of practice time to work on whatever went wrong against Niskayuna before the post-season – and perhaps, a distant rematch with the Silver Warriors.