Weekly Feature

2015-05-06 / Sports

NT boys lax wins Canal Cup meeting


Victory has been tough to come by for North Tonawanda’s boys lacrosse team this season, which is why Friday’s Canal Cup clash with Lockport took on even greater importance.

The Lumberjacks, who won the meeting between the two Erie Canal rivals, were anxious to defend last year’s win between the squads. Lockport, which also entered the contest looking for its first win of the season, was hoping to jump start its stretch run with a victory too.

In the end, North Tonawanda’s ability to not get down on itself while playing from behind allowed the Lumberjacks to persevere, 10-8, and claim a second consecutive Canal Cup victory.

“This was the game the boys had definitely been waiting for,” coach Andy Behm said. “We knew Lockport was going to come out and try their hardest to get back at us after winning last year, so to get the win felt really great.”

Lockport certainly didn’t make things easy for the Lumberjacks, as the Lions built up a 5-3 halftime lead that put North Tonawanda — which has notoriously not come out well to start the second half this season — in a precarious spot. The Lumberjacks dug deep, however, and came up with five goals in the third quarter to regain the momentum they would need to hold off the feisty Lions down the stretch.

Dawit Martin earned Game MVP honors thanks to his three-goal contribution for the winners.

North Tonawanda entered the Lockport game feeling better about its chances after playing both West Seneca West and Gowanda tough, on consecutive days, in two of the team’s contests leading up to the Canal Cup.

North Tonawanda took on West Seneca West April 23 playing without two starting defensemen, and the Indians were more than happy to take advantage of that fact. North Tonawanda put in a valiant effort in the back of the field despite having new faces in the lineup, but Behm noted that the Lumberjacks “just could not keep up with their goal scoring.”

“We just had trouble putting the ball in the net that day,” Behm said. “We just didn’t play well in general.”

North Tonawanda kept things close with Gowanda the next afternoon, trading goals back and forth most of the way before some penalty trouble towards the end of the contest gave Gowanda the opening it needed to pull away for good. Martin and Paul Marcantonio each recorded several points to lead the Lumberjacks’ efforts.

“Even though we didn’t win, the Gowanda game was a great lacrosse game — we just ran out of time in the end,” Behm said.

Things didn’t go nearly as well in North Tonawanda’s other two games leading up to the Lockport contest, though, as the Lumber- jacks were tripped up by Hamburg and Grand Island in a pair of one-sided contests. The Lumberjacks mustered just one goal against each foe and were outscored a combined 31-2.

“We did everything we could on defense and ran some new things that worked for a time, but especially against a team like Hamburg it’s only a matter of time before they get their goals,” Behm said. “Defensively Hamburg is great and it showed. We hit a couple of pipes and had some chances against them, but we only put the ball in the net once.”

North Tonawanda returned to action Tuesday by hosting Sweet Home, but information about that contest was not available at press time.

The Lumberjacks close out their week by traveling to Williamsville East Thursday, and then wrap up the regular season by traveling to Wilson and Lake Shore on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

“As the season winds down I think we have to build on what we did against Lockport,” Behm said. “We didn’t make many mistakes on Friday, so when we play Sweet Home and Williamsville East this week, we need to play pretty close to mistake-free lacrosse and just capitalize on our shots. We shot the ball great against Lockport, but there have also been some games like the one with West where we had chances but made the other goalies look great. I’m just hoping we can get another win or two to end the season well.”

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