Round one goes to Lakeside High School.
In the first of home-and-home matches between the county’s two boys lacrosse teams, Lakeside picked up the road win, beating Greenbrier 8-4.
The game was a tight affair throughout until the Panthers (7-2) scored three goals in the final 5:02 to break it open.
“I wish it would have happened earlier so we didn’t have to wait until the last second, but it’s a win and you can’t complain,” said Panthers’ senior Bryant McIlwain of the late offensive surge.
McIlwain scored the first and last goals for the Panthers, joined by Cody Hovis with two goals and single goals from Will Bryant, Jack Benton, Will Hutto and Niko Hatzigeorgiou.
The Wolfpack dropped to 5-5 with the loss, but the loss didn’t hurt them in the Class AAAAA Area 4 standings as the game that counts toward the area record is April 23 at Lakeside.
While especially hating to lose at home, Wolfpack head coach Jeff Becker liked what he saw from both teams.
“It was probably one of the cleanest games we’ve had in a long time,” said Becker. “It was a really good game and everybody played hard.”
The turning point came when the Panthers nursing a 5-4 lead held off a Wolfpack two-man advantage with 6:39 to play.
“We played very good defensively, we always do,” said Panthers head coach Ron Ritter. “Offensively we just hit the goalie too much.”
In nine games, the Panthers have allowed a total of 35 goals.
After Greenbrier’s Cal Newsome, who scored two of the Wolfpack’s four goals, drew one-minute cross check and body check penalties, the Panthers defense and goalie Jared Broder rose to the occasion. The Wolfpack’s Brooks Mischel fired two hard shots from the point but Broder was there for two of his 11 saves.
“We all know that Brooks has a shot and our defense played great,” said Broder...”The goalie gets lucky every now and then and it hits your stick.”
Following the two-man penalty kill, Hutto fed Hatzigeorgiou who scored to give the Panthers breathing room at 6-4 with 5:02 to play. Hovis scored on a spinning move 40 seconds later and McIlwain finished it off, going low left to score on a feed from Hatzigeorgiou.
“We missed some opportunities to score on our extra-man plays and their goalie is really good,” said Becker.
The Wolfpack didn’t miss much at even strength to start the game, taking a 2-0 lead on goals by Newsome and John McElhannon after just four minutes.
Down 2-1, the Panthers created a turnover on a Wolfpack power play and knotted the score at two with 5:16 left in the quarter as McIlwain fed Hovis, who went to the right low corner for the shorthanded goal.
With the first quarter about to expire, Newsome scored on a shot that Broder appeared to initially stop but bounded over his stick for a Wolfpack 3-2 lead with 1.2 seconds left.
Trailing 4-3, the Wolfpack tied the score on a Colin Fitzpatrick power-play goal with 2:23 left in the third quarter, but the Panthers would head into the fourth quarter with the lead.
When the Wolfpack were called for a 30-second offsides penalty, the Panthers quickly took advantage with Hutto scoring, giving the Panthers the lead they would not relinquish.