LATHAM — As rain poured throughout most of Wednesday’s Section II Class A boys’ lacrosse championship game between Shenendehowa and Guilderland, the specter loomed of a potential thunderstorm that could cause delays or postponements.
That never materialized, but the Plainsmen certainly started the game like a lightning bolt and never looked back.
Top-seeded Shenendehowa, eager to avenge a two-goal regular-season loss to defending Section II champion Guilderland, raced to an eight-goal lead by the end of Wednesday’s first quarter at Shaker High School. That early cushion, and a seven-goal performance from senior midfielder Colin Bullock that included multiple scores to stop Guilderland comebacks in their tracks, paved the way for the Plainsmen’s 15-9 championship game victory.
“We had a lot of energy coming in,” Bullock said. “We played our best game of the season, by far.”
It didn’t take long for Shenendehowa (No. 1 seed, 15-3 overall) to provide just how far it had come since falling 9-7 at Guilderland on April 23. Drew Canterbury got things started with a goal with 9:24 left in the first quarter, and Bullock followed by winning the ensuing faceoff and scoring seven seconds later.
The onslaught was just beginning.
By the time Guilderland goalie James Meier had a failed clear knocked into his own net at the end of the first quarter, Shenendehowa led 8-0, with three of those goals courtesy of Bullock.
“That’s the quarter we’ve been looking for all year,” Shenendehowa coach Jason Gifford said. “We’ve been telling the guys that our best lacrosse is ahead of us, and we had a good night to find it.”
“Obviously,” Bullock said, “that’s the best-case scenario. But, you know, didn’t really expect that coming in. But, we talked. We took what they gave us and we went with it.”
Guilderland (No. 2 seed, 14-5) didn’t go down quietly, with Tommy Tyksinski leading the way with a five-goal night as the Dutchmen cut into the Shenendehowa lead and lurked around for much of the night, perhaps a goal or two away from swinging momentum in their favor.
And every time the pendulum seemed ready to swing, Bullock was there to answer. All four of his second-half goals came after Guilderland had pulled to within five, including two faceoff wins that he turned into goals less than 20 seconds after a Dutchmen tally.
“We needed him to face off, he faced off. We needed him to score goals, he scored goals,” Gifford said of Bullock’s effort. “We need him to play defense, he plays defense. He was amazing tonight, and that’s the effort you need on a night like tonight.
“This is a moment he’s been working for, and you get to this night, you have one shot at it.”
In addition to Bullock’s masterclass, Canterbury and Mason Carroll scored two goals apiece for Shenendehowa.
Tyksinski starred in defeat for Guilderland with five goals, including a couple highlight-reel efforts that saw him pinball off multiple defenders in traffic.
Up next for Shenendehowa is a trip to the state tournament, with a regional final on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. back at Shaker. The Plainsmen will take on either Section I’s Scarsdale or Section IX’s Kingston. The regional semifinal between those two teams on Wednesday was suspended due to thunderstorms with Scarsdale leading 13-5 and is scheduled to be completed Thursday.
After Wednesday’s win, the Plainsmen are excited to see where the rest of this season takes them in a year that’s seen a lot of growth.
“This group felt a little different from the day we stepped into the locker room, the first day of practice,” Gifford said. “They worked hard, they stayed together. They played for each other, and just a lot of energy. And I’m super proud of these guys for all they’ve done.”
“Throughout the season, we started off playing very individually,” Bullock said. “As the season went on we really came together as a team and bonded. A lot of chemistry. I attribute this game to that.”
Guilderland 0 3 4 2 — 9
Shenendehowa 8 1 3 3 — 15
Guilderland scoring: MacKissock 1-1, Tyksinski 5-1, Blanchard 1-0, Macchiarella 1-0, Fiori 0-1. Shenendehowa scoring: Canterbury 2-0, Carroll 2-0, Wolfe 1-1, Bullock 7-0, LoPresti 1-1, Hicks 1-1, O’Connor 1-0. Goalies: Guilderland, Meier, 9 saves. Shenendehowa, Stocker, 8 saves.