May 19, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
All of the late-season struggles that the Skaneateles boys lacrosse team faced would get smoothed over with one great performance in the Section III Class C playoffs.
The Lakers, a no. 7 seed (much lower than in seasons past), went up against no. 2 seed Westhill in Saturday’s Class C quarterfinal, and led for large portions of the game – only to surrender that advantage in the last 12 minutes and fall to the Warriors 13-10.
This was, above everything else, a game where timing mattered, never more so than in the waning moments of the third quarter. At that point, Skaneateles led 9-8 on a goal by Owen Kuhns, and it had won the ensuing face-off, giving the Lakers a chance to double its margin and put the Warriors in further trouble.
But the Warriors forced a turnover and frantically drove down the field in the waning seconds. Off a scramble in front of the Lakers’ net, Luke Longo scooped up the ball and sent it past Skaneateles goalie Max Smith with just 0.7 seconds on the clock.
That goal did more than tie the game 9-9. It gave Westhill all the momentum going into the final period, and it never gave that momentum back.
Longo scored again 1:35 into the fourth quarter, and the Warriors, up 10-9, got a further boost when the frustrated Lakers started committing penalties in its own end.
With man-up situations, Ryan Suddaby pounced. Already with four goals on the afternoon, Suddaby found the net a fifth time with 8:50 left to make it 11-9.
Though Kuhns cut the margin to one two minutes later, another Skaneateles penalty led to another Suddaby goal with 5:47 to play, and he iced it by scoring for the seventh time with 3:11 left.
It all was a far cry from how the game started. Out to avenge a 6-2 defeat to Westhill nine days earlier, Skaneateles, with far more experience in post-season situations, grabbed a quick 2-0 edge on goals by Tyler Strods and Sam Duggan.
That commenced a wild, back-and-forth opening period, where every time the Warriors produced something (like goals from Suddaby 28 seconds apart), the Lakers would respond, as Ryan Higman and Alex Brownlee converted in a six-second span.
After all that, the Warriors trailed, 6-4, going to the second quarter, but it settled down on the defensive end during that period. Pete Valenti, Franco Tangredi and Brandon Devendorf started to disrupt the Lakers’ offensive patterns, and Jack Sweeney produced seven of his 13 saves.
Meanwhile, goals by Ryan Zimmerman and Mark Purcell tied it, 6-6, and Suddaby’s tally 1:17 before halftime gave Westhill its first lead of the day, 7-6, where it stood at the break.
But after Suddaby hit for the fourth time early in the third quarter, Westhill went cold, and Skaneateles took full advantage with goals from Higman and Strods to tie it 8-8, setting up the critical sequence at the end of that period.
Just to get there, Skaneateles first had to withstand the challenge of no. 10 seed General Brown in last Thursday night’s opening round at Hyatt Stadium. Thanks to a strong mid-game push, the Lakers got away from the Lions and prevailed by a score of 13-4.
Home fans were a bit concerned when Skaneateles only could grab a 2-1 first-quarter lead. But the Lakers started to solve GB’s defensive riddle in the second period, also tightening up its defense as it did not allow a goal.
That 4-0 spurt gave Skaneateles a 6-1 halftime advantage, and it gradually pulled away during the second half, capping its effort with a 5-1 fourth-quarter outburst.
Strods again served as the anchor of the Lakers’ attack, scoring three times for a hat trick and adding three assists. Owens Kuhns had two goals and two assists. Brownlee added two goals and one assist.
Steve Bright, with one goal and one assist, added further depth as Duggan, Higman, Jack Fabrizio and Mark Goetzmann had one goal apiece. Josh Kuhns added an assist in what turned out to be the Lakers’ last victory in 2013.