No. 5 Amherst knocks off No. 4 Silver Creek, 14-8

SILVER CREEK – For the first time in seven years, there will be a new Section 6 Class C boys lacrosse champion, as No. 5 Amherst upended No. 4 Silver Creek, 14-8, in quarterfinal action on Tuesday, in the rain, at Silver Creek High School.

“I think a lot of guys were asked to step in to roles this year that some of them may not have been ready for and some of them didn’t expect,” Silver Creek coach Rob Genco said. “I think they did a great job. This team went through a lot of adversity. They lost eight guys in the first week of the season, so the guys that stepped up and filled in, they played hard. (The season) probably didn’t end the way they wanted it to, but they accomplished a lot and they have a lot to be proud of.”

The Tigers jumped out to a 4-2 lead after the first quarter and never looked back as they took control of what turned out to be penalty-filled contest.

“I was definitely surprised,” Genco said of all the penalties called. “But I think that’s what (Amherst) came in intending to do. They were going to be physical with us and I think they were coached that way. They know our guys and the type of guys they are and they played right into it.”

Over the course of the game, 27 penalties were called – 14 on the Black Knights and 13 on the Tigers – and it was Amherst who took advantage of the man-up situations.

“I think a lot of our penalties were baited,” Genco said. “And we had to do a better job of not reacting to (Amherst players) after the whistle blew. They were more worried about that in the first three quarters than they were about playing. I felt like I always had a kid next to me in the (penalty) box.”

Matt Thielman, Ben Battaglia, Tadriek Johnson and Bryan Smith all scored for the Tigers in the first while the Black Knights received goals from Billy Brooks and Chase Scanlan.

In the second quarter, Amherst increased its lead to 9-2, on two goals by Battaglia and one each from Johnson, Smith and Jimmy Chadwick. Scanlan scored for the Black Knights to cut the Tigers’ lead to 9-3, with 1:26 remaining in the half, but a goal by Jake Mogerman put the Tigers up 10-3 heading into the break.

“You try to kill penalty minutes,” Genco said of what a team can do when they find themselves a man down. “But it’s hard when you’re playing at a disadvantage on one end, which is why we didn’t have many (offensive) possessions. We didn’t have many possessions on the offensive end, because we were serving penalties the entire game.”

The third quarter wasn’t much better for the Black Knights, as the Tigers received a pair of goals from Matt Thielman and one more from Johnson, as they took a 13-4 lead into the final 12 minutes.

Silver Creek’s lone goal of the third came from Sherman Williams with 29 seconds left in the quarter.

The Black Knights’ best quarter was the fourth, as they outscored the Tigers, 4-2. But by then, it was too little, too late, as Amherst moved on to the semifinals, where they will face No. 1 Salamanca, on Thursday.

“They started doing what they do,” Genco said of the Black Knights’ play in the fourth quarter. “We were waiting for it, but we waited too long to turn it on and get into what we do.”

The Black Knights were led on offense by Scanlan, who finished with three goals while Brooks and Williams finished with two goals each. Anson Gardner also had a goal in the loss.

“I think Chase, being an eighth grader, I think it started with him,” Genco said. “He switched to face-offs with Sherman (Williams) and he started winning every one of them. (Scanlan) was taking a beating out there and he kept going. He created everything. He dodged, he passed, he scored, so that’s something that you build on when you’re a young kid like that.”