By Dan Harrison
---- — TOPSFIELD — Two evenly matched teams squared off on Saturday when the Marblehead boys lacrosse team visited Masconomet.
The Magicians proved a little bit hungrier than the Chieftains and cashed in on a few transition opportunities to claim a 6-4 road victory.
“They’re (Masco) good so it’s nice to get a win against a higher echelon team,” explained Marblehead coach John Wilkens, his team now 7-3. “The guys dug deep. It was pure heart. I’m very proud. It was a huge team effort.”
The two teams were tied 3-3 headed into the fourth quarter, but a goal in transition by Brad Knittle on an assist from Alex Conn gave the Magicians a one goal lead. Minutes later, Zac Cuzner made a face dodge at the top of the box and beat Masco goalie Tighe Van Lenten with a bounce shot that proved to be the game-winner.
After Chieftain Harry Cwik scored with a shot from the outside to cut the lead to one with just over a minute left, Knittle scored again this time on an assist from Brooks Tyrrell, who used his speed to beat a double-team on the wing.
“Brad’s been struggling so we told him the ball will drop for him,” said Wilkens. “He had two big goals for us. And Cuzner is a kid who does the dirty things. You want to see a kid like that score a goal because he woks so hard.”
The Magicians ran a zone defense throughout the contest and the Masco shooters were left with attempts from the outside. Almost every Chieftain shot went low and Marblehead keeper Nathan Maselik (12 saves) smothered the large majority of them. Long poles Liam Gillis and Will Hughes were particularly effective and stayed disciplined on the outside of the zone.
Van Lenten was equally impressive with 14 saves but the Magicians were able to take advantage of some unsettled opportunities when Marblehead had the numbers advantage in transition.
“We’re real strong defensively I think they scored only two set goals, everything was in transition,” noted Masco head coach Tom Cobb, his club 6-4. “Transition cost us the game today. We’re usually not that sloppy. They got some breaks with numbers and scored.”
Marblehead’s Trevor Gelineau and the Chieftains Dylan Mann battled hard on faceoffs through all four quarters but the Magicians wing players snatched up more ground balls which allowed the visitors to push the break.
Timely saves from Maselik also helped Marblehead from falling behind at any point in the contest.
“He made some big time saves,” Wilkens said of his keeper. “Faceoffs and big saves giev you momentum shifts.”
Charlie Behrens scored twice in the first half and Max Craig also found the back of the net for the Chieftains. Dean Fader tallied a marker in the first half for the Magicians.