continued “He's an All-American,” head coach Jim Longo said. “What else can you say?”
Jake Falge doubled the Laker advantage with 3:39 left on a rare goal, just his 11th of the year. Falge found himself in the right place at the right time as a quick shot blocked by Westhill goalie Jack Sweeney feel right into his stick’s cradle for an easy conversion.
Cazenovia would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way, but the Warriors made it a battle. Luke Longo scored his fourth goal of the night to cut the deficit to one with 23 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Neither team gained ground through the majority of the fourth quarter until Cannizzaro provided the first of two insurance goals with 4:32 remaining.
Following a come-from-behind, 13-10 win over Skaneateles in the quarterfinals on May 18, Westhill looked to be in good shape for the first 23 minutes of this one, a rematch of the 9-8 overtime win by the Warriors over the Lakers earlier this month.
Neither team showed much urgency in the early going, both content to pass around and set up their offenses. Jack Centore put the Warriors on the scoreboard first with a tight angled shot following a Cazenovia penalty five minutes in.
Richie Easterly followed with a rare transition goal 3 ½ minutes later as Ryan Zimmerman took a long pass from Sweeney just 15 yards from the Cazenovia goal before laying off to Easterly.
Late in the half, with Westhill nursing a 5-3 lead and looking to keep that two-goal margin, the Lakers turned the entire game around.
With one minute left, Alex Sullivan took an outlet pass at midfield that was nearly intercepted. From there, Sullivan found Cannizzaro near the net with only one man to beat. His second goal brought the team within one, and Ryan Cook scored a diving goal 14 seconds before the horn to tie things up, 5-5.
Once the Lakers got that momentum, it never really let go of it, and were tough on both ends in the second half, including defense, where it held the deep, potent Warriors in check.
Other than Longo, no one else had multiple goals as Ryan Suddaby, who had seven goals in the playoff win over Skaneateles, managed just two assists this time around. Mark Purcell added an assist as, in the net, Sweeney recorded 16 saves.