Black Knights fall behind early, unable to complete comeback

SILVER CREEK – Salamanca scored early and often, but had to hold off a fierce Silver Creek rally in the second half Tuesday, as the Warriors (5-1) dropped the Black Knights (1-3), 12-10, in Class C boys lacrosse action.

“These guys know what to do and they know how to play,” Salamanca head coach Miah Bova said of his Warriors. “It’s what they do. Whether they get the lead in the beginning or the end, they know their job.”

Down 9-3 entering the second half, the Black Knights began their comeback attempt as Bryce Plecker and Chase Scanlan scored to cut the Warriors’ lead, 9-5, with 1:38 left in the third quarter. But Cy Spruce, who finished the day with five goals, scored with just 23 seconds left in the quarter to put Salamanca up, 10-5.

However, the Black Knights weren’t quite dead, as Marvin Curry scored 30 seconds into the fourth quarter, Scanlan added a goal at the 9:09 mark and Curry added another goal with 7:29 left, cutting the Warriors’ lead to 10-8.

“They were very smart with their tactics on how they were going to come up (on offense),” Bova said. “And they knew how to place the ball and what kind of movements to do.”

Then, with 5:54 remaining on the clock, Aiden Jimerson scored the first of his two fourth-quarter goals, bringing Silver Creek to within one, 10-9.

“It started to get a little bit nerve-wracking,” Bova said. “And the team started to get a little bit down on themselves, but they brought it in, re-grouped, knew what they had to do and got it done.”

Warriors’ goalie Wyatt Cooper made a big save with 5:25 left, preventing the tying goal, before Spruce was able to put the game out of reach with a goal at the 3:18 mark and another with 30 seconds remaining.

“He’s a good goalie,” Silver Creek head coach Bill Brennan said of Cooper. “He plays in our winter league, so he’s a good goaltender. What I told the players was, if they were going to go high, then to fake low and (shoot) high, or fake high and go low. We just weren’t getting any fakes and they were putting it right on his stick.”

Jimerson added his final goal of the fourth quarter with 16 seconds left, but by then, time, for all intents and purposes, had run out on the Black Knights.

“We don’t look at the small picture,” Brennan said. “We’re looking at the big picture and hopefully we’ll face these guys in the playoffs and it will be a different outcome.”

Kobe Whitcomb, Spruce and Caleb Cooper all scored in the first quarter for Salamanca while several key saves by Cooper helped keep Silver Creek scoreless through the game’s first 12 minutes.

“He’s a great goalie,” Bova said of Wyatt Cooper. “He’s normally our face-off man, but he’s also a great goalie. He does a lot, he’s got a great stick and he’s useful on any part of the field. He knows what he has to do to help this team win.”

In the second quarter, Salamanca pushed it’s lead to 5-0 on goals by Whitcomb and Ty Siperick, before Connor Gates got Silver Creek on the board. Scanlan’s first goal cut the Black Knights’ deficit to, 5-2. But Siperick scored two of the Warriors’ final four goals of the first half, and Salamanca took a 9-3 lead into the break.

“I think that’s just been Silver Creek,” Brennan said of why he thought his team got off to a slow start Tuesday. “We’ve just been getting off to slow starts. But you know what, in the second half, they were pumped up and they were ready to go.”

Sherman Williams scored with 2:20 left in the first half for Silver Creek’s only other goal of the second quarter.

The Black Knights had their chances to get closer to the Warriors’ lead in the second half, but they were unable to take advantage of three power-play opportunities.

“I called a couple of plays out and they never ran the plays,” Brennan said. “We have a couple of man-up plays and they just moved the ball around. They tried to move the ball around, they had a couple of passes knocked down that went the other way and actually, I think (Salamanca) got a transition goal from it.”

Siperick finished with three goals in the win while Scanlan had a team-high three goals in the loss.

“I was happy with our defense,” Brennan said. “I’ve been happy with our defense all year. When you allow that team, which I think averages 22 goals a game, and you hold them to 12, I think that’s a good job.”