Sailors down Huskies lax
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — At first glance, it would appear that Steamboat Springs junior Davis Peterson fueled the Sailors’ 11-7 lacrosse victory over league rival Battle Mountain on Thursday with seven of the team’s 11 goals. But after the game, Huskies coach Jerry Nichols wasn’t talking about the Sailors’ offensive star.
“I hand it to No. 15 (Peter Wharton), your goalie. He had good stuff and the end of the third quarter and he had those two at the end of the fourth quarter,” Nichols said. “Those were exceptional saves. They absolutely were the difference. … I tip my hat to him.”
Wharton stops 15 shots
The saves came at the perfect time to preserve the team’s lead in the contest. The Sailors had opened up a 7-3 first-half lead and extended it to 9-4 after three quarters. But the Huskies came to life in the fourth, and if not for Wharton and Peterson, the outcome might well have been different.
“I think the game was a lot closer than the score,” Nichols said. “It’s always a great game when these two teams meet.”
Players and coaches agree this is one of the best rivalries on the Western Slope. But Peterson said Thursday the Sailors tried to keep the game in perspective.
“We kind of just did what we did in practice,” he said. We made a lot of progress in practice, and we came out with the same mentality. We just didn’t give up and didn’t let up on them at all. They did have that run in the fourth, but we never let up.”
Wharton had 15 saves in the game, but came away with the biggest ones when Steamboat most needed them. Steamboat had led for most of the game, but with only two minutes left to play, Battle Mountain was knocking on the door at 9-7. That’s when Wharton went to work, stuffing two consecutive shots when Battle Mountain needed a score.
“When we were up by two, I got a little worried,” Wharton said. “I have a lot of faith in my defense and a lot of faith in my offense to go out there and get goals — Davis getting seven goals, that’s big.”
Peterson netted four goals in the first half, helping the Sailors jump out to a 7-3 halftime lead. Max Lynch also had two goals in the half, and Jacob Gilbertson netted the other. Lynch and Peyton Belton both had assists in the half.
Peterson extended the Sailors lead to 8-3 early in the second half after receiving an assist from Lynch. Gilbertson scored his second with an assist from Peterson a few minutes later to give the Sailors a 9-4 lead headed into the fourth and final quarter of play.
That’s when Battle Mountain rallied with three unanswered goals, including one by Jeremy Sforzo to make the score 9-6, and another by Wyatt Perkins to make the score 9-7 with two minutes left to play. It was one of two from Sforzo, who also had two assists in the game. Battle Mountain’s Cal Masler scored twice, and Charlie Morrow and Perkins each scored once. Tom Boyne finished the game with an assist.
“It fires the whole team up when Pete gets a sick save or stuffs two in a row,” Peterson said. “I love watching Pete play the game — it gets us all excited.”
The saves were more than enough to inspire Peterson, as he scored two late goals to give the Sailors a little breathing room as time ran out.
“The entire season, we’ve been in close games, so I kind of expected things to get a little closer at the end of this one,” Sailors coach Jay Lattimore said. “The kids did a good job responding … and I’m pretty happy with that.”
The win improves the Sailors’ record to 3-3 overall this season, and more importantly, 3-0 in league play. Battle Mountain is now 1-6 overall and 1-3 in league play.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.