Peterson's last minute goal lifts Sailors past Tigers in league showdown

Steamboat Springs goalkeeper Peter Wharton looks to control the ball after blocking a Summit shot in the second half of Tuesday's game against the Tigers At Gardner Field. Wharton had 29 saves in the Sailors 5-4 victory.

— Less than two minutes remained on the game clock Tuesday when Steamboat Springs' Davis Peterson took a pass from a teammate and, in turn, took the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse game into his own hands.

“We were not about to lose this game,” Peterson said after the Sailors' 5-4 victory over Summit at Gardner Field. “ I was so hyped for this game. I was so amped … I was not about to get denied.”

At the time, the game was tied at four goals each, and the clock was ticking down on what had been a frustrating and scoreless half for Steamboat.

First-quarter goals by Peterson (10:36) and Max Lynch (5:32), both assisted by Kieran Hahn, had given the Sailors an early 2-0 lead. Steamboat extended the lead to 4-0 in the second quarter, thanks to a goal from Peyton Belton (6:10), assisted by Lynch, that put the Sailors up 3-0. Lynch scored the Sailors' fourth goal of the half after getting an assist from Jacob Gilbertson.

“It was a tale of two halves," Sailors’ coach Jay Lattimore said after the game. “Our guys totally dominated the first half, but not so much in the second.”

An aggressive attack, which had been missing in the first, compounded by multiple Steamboat penalties, allowed the Tigers to get back into the game with four unanswered goals. The Steamboat players, who have lost five games this season by a single goal, looked tight as Summit rallied. The last time the two team met — in Frisco on April 4 — it was the Tigers who came out on top with a score of 6-5.

“The second half was pretty good,” Summit coach Michael Grinnel said. “I’m proud of the boys, the way they battled back, but you have to play a full four quarters.”

Goals by Summit’s Aiden Casias (10:41) and senior midfielder Matt Francomano (6:53) made the score 4-2 after three. Then, two more goals by junior attacker Keegan Moore, who also had an assist in the game, in the final quarter tied things up at four goals each with just over six minutes to play.

The game was back-and-fourth for most of the final stretch, but Steamboat was able to get back into an attacking position as the clock counted down, and Lattimore took a timeout to focus his players. A penalty by Summit after the break set up Peterson’s late game heroics.

“It was frustrating,” Peterson said. “The team had countless penalties, and it was an extreme factor in how close the game was. It was closer than I would like. I was going to goal, especially since we were a man up. It was a huge goal.”

Both teams also had great showings in the net. Steamboat’s Peter Wharton came away with a number of key saves and finished the game with 29. Summit’s Sawyer March finished with 21.

“Kudos to Steamboat. They just played a great game against Cheyenne and came up a little short in overtime,” Grinnel said. “Overall, they are a great team and a great squad, and we look forward to playing them every year. Two games this year decided by a goal.”

The victory keeps Steamboat in the hunt for the league title. Vail Mountain is at the top of the standings with a 6-0 record in league play. The team is 9-1 overall.

Steamboat is currently in second with a 6-1 record in league and 7-5 overall.

The Sailors will be off for Spring Break but will return to action May 2 against Battle Mountain. The teams' final two games of the year will determine the Western Slope championship, with back-to-back meetings against Vail Mountain.

The Sailors will host the Gore Rangers at 4 p.m. May 5. The team will then pack into the buses and head to Vail for the final regular season game at 1 p.m. May 6.

“It’s great, in that we control our own destiny,” Lattimore said of the back-to-back games with Vail Mountain. “We just need to win.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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