EMIGSVILLE — When the game is on the line in the final minutes, the Susquehannock boys' lacrosse team can take solace from the fact that they have Shane Silk in goal.
And while Silk is quite adept at snuffing out the best of scoring chances, it was Silk's best friend that proved to be a big reason why the York-Adams League regular-season co-champs are headed to the playoff finals.
With Dallastown on the attack with under 10 seconds left in a one-goal contest, the Wildcats mounted a full-out assault on the Warrior goal. Silk did his best to keep the ball out of the cage, but a quick shot by Max Lohss eluded Silk's grasp with two seconds left.
Fortunately, his friend — the post — was in the perfect spot to pick up the senior netminder. The shot clanked off the iron border, securing Susquehannock an intense 8-7 triumph over the Wildcats.
The victory marked a sweep for the Warriors on the night, with the Susquehannock girls' lacrosse team claiming a 14-13 win over York Catholic in the first game of a doubleheader at Central York High School. As a result, both clubs will play in their own digs at Robert E Lau Memorial Field Thursday night for the league titles. The girls will face Kennard-Dale in the first game at 5:30 p.m., while the Warrior boys will take on West York in the nightcap.
"We knew they were going to go at the cage hard," Susquehannock coach Russ LeBlanc said. "We just wanted to keep good position and turn them out. We shut out their shooters pretty well, but we didn't stop the ball the way we wanted to."
The Warriors, and especially Silk, can give plenty of thanks to the 1 1/2-inch metal post that helped the squad skirt a last-second comeback from the Wildcats.
"That kid is pretty quick," Silk said of Lohss. "He rolled up and rolled around and just got a shot off and it hit that pipe. So, yeah, I love the pipe."
As the horn finally sounded, the Susquehannock players celebrated on the field with their senior goalie. To top it off, the Warrior girls, who stuck around to cheer on their male counterparts, serenaded the boys' team with praise.
"That was sweet," said Silk, who finished with 12 saves. "I saw them dancing up in the stands and that just kind of made it just more of a chill atmosphere. It was great having them here to cheer us on."
The final celebrations, however, didn't diminish the fact that the Warriors were in a struggle over the final 24 minutes. But it did make them feel a lot better.
"I've got to give credit to Dallastown's defense," said Silk of a Wildcat side that held the Warriors to one goal in the second half. "They were stellar. Great goaltending too. We had a lot of missed opportunities down toward the end, but Dallastown played extremely well."
Dom Gurreri and Andrew Kvasnovski combined to score three goals over the final quarter to draw the Wildcats within 8-7 with 5:52 left. But no one could beat Silk or his friend from that point on.
"We like to keep it interesting, I guess," LeBlanc joked. "But I'm really happy for the guys. They have goals that they set for themselves this season and they keep making enough plays to take steps in that direction."
One of those goals — winning the league playoff title — is now well within reach. And the fact that they will be able to do it against their rivals and a team they were forced to share the regular-season title with makes it all that much sweeter.
"That's going to be off the chart," Silk said. "We wanted West York. I just hope our fans come out and cheer us on."
Aiden Kirkendall led the Warriors with three goals, while Cade Gold, Gurreri and Kvasnovski each scored two goals each for Dallastown. Wildcat goalie Jack Marks finished with 16 saves.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.