Boys Varsity Lacrosse
Game Summaries & Headlines.
The opinion in the stands after the Eagles season opener on Monday night was pretty much common. “It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it” could be heard as the huddled masses climbed the Eagle Stadium stairs on their way to the vehicles.
The Forge Boys Lacrosse team opened the season with a 17-11 decision over the Riverbend Bears. It was a contest with not a lot of flow to it, but the Eagles got around the plethora of whistles with their fire power on offense and some timely goaltending to put this one in the W column.
The GREEN attack was led by Tyler Howard who had 4 goals and two assists on the night. Drew Fields put three goals in the back of the net and added 4 assists for the “good guys”. The Bears were led by James Stewart (no relation to the famous actor) who buried 5 goals, and J.T. Harvey who had 4 tallies for the visitors.
Senior attack Jake Wilhelm opened up the scoring in this one whistling a shot into the twine, taking a pass from Fields to put the Eagles up 1-0 just a minute and seven seconds in. Gavin Grainger would add to that lead a little later with an assist from Howard and the Forge was on top 2-0 with just 2:44 gone in the game.
Those two quick goals made the alarms go off on the Bears sideline as the visitors started to take hold of the play. Harvey open the Bears scoring with an unassisted tally at the 6:53 mark to cut the Forge lead to 2-1. Freshman Willie “The Streak” Berris scored his first high school goal with 5:07 left in the first unassisted as he sent a laser stick side top corner on the Bears goalie Isaac Graves. When Sloan Partanen took a feed from Wilhelm a few minutes later the senior made no mistake and put the Eagles on top 4-2 after the first quarter.
The second stanza was a back and forth affair with the Eagles outscoring the Bears 5-4 in the stanza. Riverbend’s Stewart on an assist from Daniel Weber opened the scoring in the quarter with a tally past Eagle goalie Matt Dayley at the 23 second mark. The “good guys” responded as “The Streak” (Berris) ran past his defender and found Brando Sizemore in the slot to give the Eagles a 5-3 lead with 8:42 left until halftime.
Less than a minute later the Bears Ian Smith scored an unassisted goal, and 14 seconds after that goal, Stewart buried a shot from Zack Whalen with 7:43 left and this baby was tied at 5-5. That flurry by the Bears seemed to wake the Eagles up just a bit, as they responded by controlling much of the play late in the first half. Howard and Fields combined on a goal with 6:18 left until the break, but Harvey let everybody know the Bears were still in the stadium potting another goal with 5:47 left. The “good guys" would close out the half with a three goal barrage by Sizemore (from Wilhelm) with 4:20 left, Grainger (from Fields) with 2:47 left, and Howard (from Grainger) with 2:29 left sending the Forge to the halftime locker room with a 9-6 lead.
In the second half, Fields opened the third quarter scoring on an unassisted goal at the 2:27 mark to pad the GREEN lead to 10-6. Stewart would respond again for the Bears on a feed from Dan Weber with 8:49 left in the third and the Eagles lead was cut to 10-7. The Forge got Howard active as the senior scored back to back rippers, the first from Fields at the 7:08 mark, and again from Wilhelm with 2:10 left in the quarter to extend the Forge lead to 12-7. When Stewart scored for the Bears (from Harvey) with just over a minute left in the frame, Howard was there again for the “good guys” (from Fields) with just 2 seconds left to make it 13-8 heading to “winning time”.
The final stanza opened with a flourish as the Bears made a push to get back in the game. The highlight of the first couple of minutes was a 10 bell save by junior goalie Anthony Merida. The lanky net minder was staring at Stewart all alone in front of the cage. The Bears attack let go a shot labeled for the top corner of the net. Merida did not flinch and picked the laser off with a stick save that had him smiling back at Stewart like a butcher’s dog with 8:53 left in the contest.
Later in the quarter the Bears would cut the lead to 13-9 on an unassisted goal by Weber at the 4:46 mark. The Eagles responded by sealing the deal with a 4 goal barrage by the law firm of Fields, Berris, Wilhelm and Ghazzoui, all scoring unassisted to give the good guys a 17-9 lead with just 2:52 left.
The Bears Harvey came up with two unassisted tallies of his own in the final two minutes but it was too little too late for the visitors, and the Forge had their first W of the year 17-11.
The Eagles will travel down Courthouse Road on Thursday night as they visit the Brooke Point Black Hawks in another Commonwealth District clash. They all can’t be pretty, but the can be exciting and the Forge has some fire power that will only strengthen as the season goes on.