It’s not often when a battle of unbeatens is also a clash of teams with big chips on their respective shoulders.
But that is exactly the scenario that played out Tuesday afternoon when up-and-coming York Catholic traveled to take on defending York-Adams League champion West York.
Both teams had impressed early in the season en route to 3-0 marks. Both clubs, however, felt a bit slighted in how others expected their campaigns to unfold.
That attitude showed throughout Tuesday’s clash on a sunny, but chilly day. The Bulldogs blitzed the Irish to the tune of an early five-goal lead in the first quarter. But the Irish rallied from a four-goal hole in the final period, tying up the contest with just 17.5 seconds left in regulation.
Despite possessing the ball for most of the overtime, the visitors were unable to close out a program-defining triumph. Cody Richter came up with a loose ball in West York’s end of the field before racing toward the goal. After a couple of checks, Richter was able to get in position in front of the goalie before firing home the game-winner.
That tally set off a wild celebration around Richter, who secured his team's thrilling 12-11 OT victory.
“A lane just kind of opened up in front of me,” said Richter, who scored two goals during a 5-0 run to begin the contest. “When I got it, it was just open field. I (knew) I just had to do what I always do and make a strong move past (the defender). I just got bodied up somehow and I was 1-on-1 with the goalie.”
The celebration afterward was a bit of excitement and a bit of relief. It marked the second year in a row that Richter and the Bulldogs pulled out a victory over the Irish in overtime. It also ended all the momentum that the visitors accrued after rallying from an 11-7 deficit late in the contest.
“I just didn’t want to lose to them, especially after that lead that we put up against them,” said Richter, who finished with five goals and two assists. “I just ... wouldn’t have gotten over that for a while.”
The Irish will certainly feel the sting of the gut-wrenching defeat. Down by four with 4:18 left, Tommy Bowser almost single-handedly brought his team back to even. Bowser scored three goals, including the one that tied up the contest with 17.5 seconds left. He also assisted on the other tally during that run.
But, after controlling the face off to begin the overtime, the Irish were unable to cash in. A Bulldog penalty gave York Catholic a man-up advantage, but they were unable to register a shot on goal.
Then a turnover in the offensive zone was corralled by Richter. Just a few seconds later, it was over.
“I know that we have the ability and I know that we’re going to get the looks, but I was just so nervous for the kids,” Irish coach Shane Harper said. “This just means so much for them. And to win in overtime, and we seem to struggle in overtime. … I mean the last three overtime games that we’ve had we lost. And now this is two years in a row.”
Bowser finished with four goals and an assist for the game, while Jacob Norton tallied three goals to go with an assist. Irish goalie Alex Reichart registered five saves.
Ryan McCauley and Nick Cintron scored three goals apiece for the Bulldogs. West York goalie Owen Piro finished with nine saves.
OTHER BOYS' LACROSSE
Red Lion 14, Spring Grove 6: At Red Lion, Sam Emig (seven goals) and Jac Gemmill (two goals, five assists) powered the Lions. Elijah Workinger (goal, two assists), Justin Dashler (two goals) and Nicholas Shima (goal, assist) also had multiple-point games for the winners. Ethan Clark (three goals), Brice Kephart (goal, two assists), Tanner Bolton (two goals) and Landon Sterner (two assists) led the Rockets.
Central York 15, Susquehannock 9: At Springettsbury, the Panthers got seven goals from T.J. Ross to earn the win in a battle of two of York County’s top teams. Connor Hoch added four goals for Central. The Warriors got two-goal efforts from Aidan Kirkendall, Jack Allred and Dorian Faster.
York Suburban 16, South Western 2: At York Suburban, Colin Mailman scored eight goals to pace the Trojans. John Geary added four more goals to the winning cause. Braden Dunn and Carson Perry each scored for the Mustangs.
New Oxford 19, Eastern York 8: At New Oxford, Raleigh Bateman led the Colonials with seven goals, while Braxtin Reddinger had five goals and six assists. Eastern York got five goals from Rylie Toomey.
York Catholic 21, West York 5: At York Catholic, Anna Linthicum scored six goals and added four assists for Catholic, while Lindsey China had four goals and four assists. West York was led by Ally Williams’ hat-trick.
South Western 13, York Suburban 3: At Hanover, Elizabeth Antoshak had four goals and two assists to lead South Western, while Suburban got two goals from Eryn McBride and a goal and assist from Bailey Cross.
Susquehannock 18, Central York 4: At Glen Rock, Gena Speights scored six times for Susquehannock, while Maddie Ellis had three goals and an assist and Rachel Marshner had two goals and two assists. For Central, Addy Billings had two goals and Emily Karland had a goal and assist.
Red Lion 16, Spring Grove 9: At Spring Grove, Peyton Shima scored a game-high four goals for Red Lion, while Alyssa Adams tallied three goals and two assists. Cassidy Patchel scored twice and added an assist for Spring Grove, while Casey Franklin, Jordyn Miller and Lauren Grove also scored twice.
Kennard-Dale 16, Dallastown 0: At Fawn Grove, Maddie Day scored six goals for the Rams. Goalie Claire Boone made seven saves to record the shutout.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.