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High School Boys Lacrosse: Hamburg holds on for big win over Section V power

Nick Wilcox helped Hamburg control much of the possession in a 13-12 win over Canandaigua thanks to a dominant night in the face-off circle. The senior middie also scored four times.

It’s impressive alone for a Section VI team to compete right with a Rochester-area lacrosse power like Canandaigua; it’s even more remarkable to trail on four different occasions yet resiliently find a way to win.

Hamburg had an answer for each of Canandaigua’s runs and then held on over the final few minutes for a 13-12 win on Friday (April 19) at Howe Field. The Bulldogs won for a second straight season after Canandaigua won the first six meetings between the two elite programs.

“To win back-to-back games against them means a lot to us,” said Hamburg head coach Jerry Severino, who helped start the series between the Section VI and V powers as a first-year coach eight seasons ago. “We finally got over the hump last year and now we showed it’s not just a fluke. This team is not a fluke — it came together tonight. They faced adversity a half dozen times and responded.”

After the teams went back-and-forth during a first half that finished tied at six apiece, the Bulldogs faced a major test in each of the final two quarters. Canandaigua scored the first two goals of the second half to take an 8-6 lead and then netted the first three of the fourth quarter to go up 11-10. On both occasions, Hamburg had a response.

Nick Wilcox scored three of his four goals during a four-goal run which put Hamburg into the lead, 10-8, after three quarters. He then continued his dominance in the face-off circle, helping start a three-goal Bulldog run, which put them up 13-11 with 6:45 left in the game.

“We knew it would be a tough game but we had a good scout on them,” said Wilcox, who’s coaching staff filmed a Canandaigua game earlier in the week for players to study. “We played our game and played smart. You can’t make stupid plays against a team like this who is well coached and plays such good defense.”

Five of Hamburg’s seven goals in the second half followed a face-off win, most of them coming in quick fashion.

Off a pass from Wilcox, Luke Shaffer scored his second goal of the game six seconds after Canandaigua had taken a 10-8 lead. Wilcox then won a face-off and scored an unassisted goal less than a minute later to tie the game. His next two goals came within seven seconds of the other as he scored with 48 ticks left on the clock in the third and then again after a face-off win to end the quarter.
Luke Shaffer and Hamburg came back from two second half deficits to defeat Canandaigua. (Photos by Michael J. Petro)

Canandaigua’s Mitchell Shaefer, who finished with five goals, scored three of them in a row in the first three minutes of the fourth to put Canandaigua back up 11-10, but Wilcox went back to work, winning another draw and finding Max Maxwell for the senior’s third of the game 24 seconds later to tie it up at 11 apiece. Wilcox’s next face-off win resulted in a Jim Duffy tally four seconds later as Hamburg went back in front 12-11.

“I told my wing guys where the ball is going to be (off the face-off),” Wilcox said. “ I’ll put the ball there and I know they’re going to pick it up. I have confidence in them. We all trust each other.”

“I’ve got to believe Nick’s face-off dominance that he showed will show up in the stats,” an impressed Severino noted.

Two minutes later, sophomore Ben Ott scored what turned out to be the game-winner to put Hamburg up 13-11. Canandaigua got within one goal scoring off a turnover with two minutes left in the game, but Hamburg used a pair of timeouts in the final minute of the fourth to hold on to possession and then staved off a final-second opportunity for the Braves.

“We’re real proud of the way the kids responded to the Canandaigua runs,” said Severino, who credited the leadership of his 17 seniors. “It was even all the way. But when a team gets out ahead of you right after halftime and it looks bleak then you have to respond and that’s what we did.”

An exceptional game was also played by senior long stick middie Christian Hollfelder, who held Colgate University-bound standout Dan LaCrosse without a goal in the game. Severino said his defensive unit also focused on stopping Brian Feldmann, who finished with two goals.

“I saw a patient and deliberate offense in a six-on-six scenario and our defense was just as good in settled situations,” Severino noted. “We were victimized by transition and unsettled situations at times, but overall we played very well defensively.”

Also in the win, seniors Austin Bishop notched a first quarter goal and Luke Kramer barreled down the field to score with a long pole in the second quarter for Hamburg. Sophomore goalie Jordan Kuss earned the win in net.

With a 17-2 win over Grand Island in Class B action on April 22, the Bulldogs are now 7-1 overall and 4-0 in division play.

Hamburg’s next big test will be hosting Timon on Friday (April 26) in a Western New York showdown. The defending Catholic state champion Tigers defeated a nationally-ranked team from Florida this season, like Hamburg did last year by beating Brother Rice of Michigan. The teams meet for the first time since 2006.

Around the local fields

Frontier scored a big win over a team that’s been a regular around the top of Western New York in topping Amherst 9-3 in a out-of-league game on Saturday (April 20).

Junior Jake Kocic, who has returned from an early-season injury, led the Falcons with three goals. Senior teammate Jimmy Smith recorded a goal and three assists, while classmates Connor Kacmarski and Ian Woods each added a goal and one assist. Also with a goal each were senior Nick King, junior Jeff Taylor and freshman Nathan Quinn. Sophomore Brandon May and freshman Bill Lemke each picked up four ground balls to help Frontier and senior Luke Bartone earned the victory in net.

The Falcons followed that win by improving to 4-2 overall with an 8-6 victory over Williamsville North in another out-of-league contest on April 22. Smith led Frontier with three goals and two assists, while Kocic added two goals and one assist. Senior Josh Young, Woods and Quinn each contributed one goal, while May and Smith each notched six ground balls. Bartone was again the winning goalie as he faced 28 North shots.

Also topping Amherst and for the first time in the eight-year history of the program was Lake Shore. Tommy Scanlan scored five times in the Eagles’ 10-6 win over Amherst on April 18. He also had five goals in a 22-13 win over Medina in the game prior. Darien Jimerson added two tallies in the win over Amherst. Lake Shore is now 3-0 in Class C.

Senior Jarrett Dolegala scored all three of his goals in the fourth quarter to help St. Francis hold off Eden 11-9 in a non-league game on a cold and blustery afternoon in Athol Springs April 19. Brett Benzinger and Dylan McDonald added three and two goals, respectively, to aid in the cause, while fellow seniors Tyler McTigue, Scott Dosser and Matt Higgins each finished with one goal.
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