The Fort Lax Skyhawks won a nail-biter 6-5 over Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, CA. Led by Conor Henricks 4 goals, including the game winner with 1:17 left to play, the Fort would not be denied their second win of a long spring break trip. The victory was hard fought, with outstanding defensive play on both sides highlighting the contest. The Skyhawks improve to 6-1 on the season, with games against RMLC foes Utah Valley University and Montana State coming up on Friday and Sunday respectively in Provo, UT.
Fort Lewis started off firing on all cylinders, scoring on their first possession with a slick pass from Max Segal to Conor Henricks who put away a nifty dunk on the crease for a 1-0 lead. Goals were hard to come by, but Ian Bragdon managed to rip one by the Gaels’ goalie with almost no angle with 7 minutes left in the 1st quarter. St. Mary’s would manage a goal with 1 minute left to bring the score to 2-1 Skyhawks at the end of the first frame.
The 2nd quarter saw continued defensive battle and great hustle plays, but both teams could muster only a goal each. Fort Lewis got its goal from James Rott, who moved to attack after an injury to fellow freshman Ian Bragdon. Shaun Koenig proved his All-American caliber by taking SMC leading scorer Sean Chacon completely out of the equation, forcing multiple turnovers and stalling the SMC attack. In the 3rd quarter, Fort Lewis could manage only a single goal despite 11 shots, a nifty individual effort from Conor Henricks to push the FLC lead to 4-2.
An exciting 4th quarter kept the playoff level intensity rolling as Saint Mary’s answered quickly. Gaels midfielder Nick Vanderklugt, who had 6 goals against Fort Lax last year, scored his 3rd goal of the game just 30 seconds into the period and added another to tie the game at 5-5 with 3:25 left in the game. Hayden Pike was a rock in goal and allowed the Fort to weather the storm by making 4 huge saves, giving him 10 for the game. Conor Henricks continued to put on a show, as he took advantage of a beautiful feed in transition from James Rott and buried a laser to the top corner putting the Skyhawks up 5-4. Henricks then scored the game winner on a worm-burner with 1:17 left in the game. Some scary transition play from Saint Mary’s was answered by outstanding team defense by the Fort, and the Gaels could not muster a quality shot in the final seconds. Final score 6-5 Fort Lewis, and a final sigh of relief from the coach and players.