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CLASSIC LAX: Salem rallies from 4 down, nets OT win over ‘Cats

 CLASSIC LAX: Salem rallies from 4 down, nets OT win over ‘Cats

Salem’s Ryan Peters looks to make a move against Plymouth’s Alex Witt Wednesday night.

Wednesday night’s lacrosse match featuring P-CEP rivals Salem and Plymouth was a memory-maker, heart-breaker and standings-shaker all rolled up in a two-hour barn-burner.

Playing on a brutally-cold late-April evening, the Rocks rallied from a 10-6 fourth-quarter deficit to earn a dramatic 11-10 overtime victory.

The high-quality match-up — which offered proof as to how the level of lacrosse is ascending in Plymouth and Canton — was the KLAA East Division opener for surging Salem (4-1 in the conference). Plymouth (3-1 in the conference) slipped to 1-1 in the division.

The Wildcats were on the cusp of extending their decade-long dominance over Salem after owning possession for most of the four-minute overtime. However, the Rocks’ defense — back-ended by senior goalie Charlie Barker — stonewalled multiple Plymouth scoring chances.

After Salem forced a Wildcat turnover with less than 20 seconds left, senior Rock star Ryan Peters charged downfield before getting separated from the ball by a Wildcat defender with just a few ticks on the overtime clock.

Seeke and destroy

Salem’s Jonathan Seeke alertly scooped up the ball and fired it into the back of the net, igniting a blue-wave celebration.

To check out video highlights from Wednesday’s game, click here.

Salem senior Jonathan Seeke takes aim at the goal protected by Plymouth goalie Griffin VanSickle
Salem senior Jonathan Seeke takes aim at the goal protected by Plymouth goalie Griffin VanSickle

Fittingly, Peters and Seeke both registered their 100th career goals Wednesday night.

Both teams’ goalies — Barker and Plymouth’s Griffin VanSickle — were brilliant during most of the game’s intense final moments, turning back point-blank shots on numerous occasions.

Plymouth held a semi-comfortable 10-7 lead with 3 minutes and 2 seconds remaining in regulation before Salem deadlocked the score at 10-all in just 54 seconds on goals from Kai Prinzevski, Peters and Ben Smigell.

Peters punctuated his late net-finder — and the growing Salem momentum burst — with an out-of-the-blue backflip, adding more juice to the already fired-up Rock sideline.

Players pursue a loose ball Wednesday night
Players pursue a loose ball Wednesday night

The Wildcats built an early 2-0 lead on a pair of goals from Ian Timberlake, who was assisted by Kalvin Chen and Cam Witt.

Back and forth

Salem drew even on goals from Sam Libbing (from Peters) and an unassisted scoreboard-changer by Peters.

The Wildcats regained their mojo with four consecutive goals over the next five minutes thanks to three goals from Griffin Gallaher and one from Witt. Timberlake, Sam Plencner, Ethan Wendland and Chase Knutsen picked up assists on the scores.

Unfazed, Salem regrouped  and cut its deficit to 6-4 on an unassisted goal from Seeke and a Smigell goal assisted by Peters.

The skill level displayed during Wednesdays match was top shelf
The skill level displayed during Wednesdays match was top shelf

Plymouth wrestled the momentum back quickly when shots from Witt and Gallaher were rocketed between the pipes, pushing the visitors’ lead to 8-4.

After Salem’s Max Kehoe and Plymouth’s Wendland exchanged goals, making it 9-6, Gallaher scored in front after securing a slick behind-the-net dime from Plencner.

Leading 10-6, it appeared Plymouth had locked down ownership of a critical division victory; however, the Rocks made sure it was just a short-term lease, storming back to earn a tension-packed triumph that will be remembered as one of the Park’s best rivalry games in recent history.

Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or edwright@socialhousenews.com.

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Ed Wright

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