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Penalties plague Eagles in lax loss to Plymouth

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Steven Hickey looks to get by a Plymouth defender during action at the Meadows on May 9. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
May 14, 2012
GILFORD – As the schedule gets tougher for the Gilford High School boys' lacrosse team, the margin for error increases in a big way. The Golden Eagles learned that the hard way on May 9, as visiting Plymouth Regional High School scored four straight 'man up' goals to turn an early deficit into an 11-4 win in Division III action at the Meadows.

With Gilford ahead 2-0 in the first quarter behind goals from Dylan Robbs and Steven Hickey, things appeared to be off to a good start for the Eagles. But problems arose in the second quarter, as a plethora of penalties saw the squad spend much of the rest of the half a man down. The visiting Bobcats took full advantage, scoring four consecutive goals with a man advantage to take a 4-2 lead with nine minutes left before intermission.

"Today started real nice for us, we popped in a couple of goals and we looked pretty good," began GHS coach Dan Kallmerten. "But then we just got into the penalty box. We couldn't stop their man up attack and when they start pumping in goals like that, we seemed to get a little demoralized. Plymouth is one of the top three or four teams in our division this year. They have a legitimate chance to make a run to the finals. You can't spend time in the box against a team as good as they are."

The Bobcats (8-1) scored two more times before the half, with Mackenzie Bird scoring one of his game-high five goals in the final minutes, forcing Kallmerten to call timeout to settle the troops. Plymouth led 6-2 at intermission.

The third quarter got off to a promising start for the Eagles however, as Plymouth was flagged for a stick violation during the half, giving Gilford a three-minute locked in man advantage to open things up. While the team hoped the extended man up situation would allow them to get back into the game, Plymouth's defense held strong. The Bobcats didn't allow any good scoring chances during the span, and Bird made it 7-2 when he found the back of the net just seconds after the team returned to full strength.

"We blew a golden opportunity there with that locked in penalty," admitted Kallmerten. "When you start the quarter with that kind of advantage, you want to score a few goals and get back in it. But we just couldn't get our offense into the kind of flow we needed to in order to get a couple goals."

Gilford (5-2 following the loss) finally stopped the bleeding with 5:31 left in the third, as senior midfielder Brendon Murphy buried a blast from the outside that beat Plymouth goalkeeper Dylan McIntosh low to make it a 7-3 game. Sam Prescott followed less than two minutes later for the Eagles, as he snuck a shot by the keeper to cut the deficit to 7-4 with 3:40 left.

But the Bobcats would score the final four goals of the game, holding Gilford scoreless over the final 15:40 of regulation to pull away for the 11-4 win.

"I can't fault their effort because they were running their legs off until the end," said Kallmerten, whose team played with just two lines. "We just didn't kick it up to that next gear when we needed to. We settled in a bit in that third quarter, got a bit more methodical offensively and slowed the pace a little bit. But again, the penalties just killed us."

Prescott and Ryan Brown added assists for the Eagles in the loss, while Chris Medlin had a solid game to pace the second line midfield. Murphy was his typical stellar self, winning a large majority of the faceoffs to give Gilford possession.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
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