West Genesee attacker Brady Hoose (16) celebrates, with his teammates, the goal with 3.1 seconds left that gave the Wildcats a 9-8 victory over Baldwinsville in Friday's Section III Class A semifinal. The Wildcats will face Fayetteville-Manlius in next Tuesday's title game at the Carrier Dome.
continued Following that tally, though, WG would go more than 21 minutes of game time before finding the net again, repeating what head coach Mike Messere described as a season-long pattern of not putting two good halves of lacrosse together.
B'ville used a deflected goal credited to Bertrand to cut the margin to 5-3 at halftime, and then it zoomed out in front during the third quarter on consecutive goals from Zach Bulak, Bertrand and Steve Petrelli, the last of them a pretty give-and-go with J.P. Walker that left WG trailing 6-5 with one period left.
When Matt Zandri found the net 28 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Wildcats' deficit grew to 7-5, but it would not score again, unable to use long possessions early in that period to put WG away.
And as it has done so many times in the past, WG stayed patient and waited for the Bees to make mistakes - which it did, twice committing penalties that led to man-up situations that WG converted with goals by Glesener and St. Croix 90 seconds apart that tied it, 7-7.
St. Croix returned with 1:50 to play and earned his fourth goal with 1:50 left, briefly giving the Wildcats an 8-7 lead, and it won the ensuing face-off, only to turn it over with an offsides call, setting up the last-minute drama where Bertrand evened it, but Hoose would have the final word.
WG's escape means a trip to the Carrier Dome for a third shot at unbeaten (17-0) top seed Fayetteville-Manlius in Tuesday night's Class A final. The Hornets, who beat the Wildcats twice during the regular season, narrowly escaped a furious late comeback from Liverpool to win the other sectional semifinal by a 10-9 margin.