JOHNSTOWN - It wasn't the offensive onslaught from two days prior, but the Johnstown Sir Bills lacrosse team used steady goal scoring and superb defense to race past the Hoosick Falls Panthers 8-3 on a blustery Saturday at Knox Field.
Entering Saturday's matchup, Johnstown head coach Scott Petrie mentioned that the key to victory would be overcoming Hoosick Falls' size and defensive intensity. The Sir Bills (2-1) tallied two goals in each quarter, including one in each frame by Austin Brand, and got a stellar outing from goalie Zack Simone to help bury the Panthers.
"I thought we did a pretty good job when we started moving the ball around," Petrie said. "It's essential for us to start figuring out that ball movement is going to be important to find the two-on-ones and stuff like that."
Johnstown’s Jeremiah Robinson (4) is pressured by Hoosick Falls’ Derek Bird during Saturday’s boys lacrosse game at Knox Field in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
Following a defensive battle through the first six minutes of play, David Fahr found the back of the net after a lengthy Johnstown possession to kick off the scoring. Less than 90 seconds later, Hoosick Falls' Noah Labarge tossed the equalizer between the legs of Simone. It didn't take long for Johnstown to regain control of the lead, as Brand stormed through a wide-open lane to the goal and rifled one in on Johnstown's next possession.
Johnstown outshot the Panthers 10-4 in the first quarter, but a late goal by Nick Schrom once again pulled Hoosick Falls even.
The Panthers found an offensive rhythm in the second but were stifled by Simone. Hoosick Falls got 13 shots off, seven of which were on target but saved by Johnstown's netminder. Simone allowed only one through, at the 9:49 mark by Cole Voltra, before pitching a shutout for the remainder of the contest. Brand and Austin Smith each tallied a goal in the second to give Johnstown a one-goal advantage heading into halftime.
"We continue to have Zack in the cage and he is one solid player," Petrie said. "Right next to him is Ethan Hale who is pretty much becoming a beast in this league. Those two there with Damian [Holman] and Nate [King] have been a pretty solid defense so far this year."
Simone added four more saves in the third quarter to hold Hoosick Falls scoreless, while Brand's third goal of the game midway through extended Johnstown's lead. Jeremiah Robinson found an open Fahr on the left side of the goal with 2:49 remaining for a score that made the count 6-3. Brand struck again one minute into the fourth quarter and Robinson added a goal of his own two minutes after that. Johnstown held Hoosick Falls to just two shots on goal in the final frame.
"One of the things that we've been talking about is that this is the year we're going to win, so you've got to figure out ways to win," Petrie said. "They're doing a great job of figuring out ways to win. It was a close game but we had the upper hand today."
The Sir Bills outshot the Panthers 36-25 overall and Simone finished with 13 saves. Hoosick Falls' goalkeeper Chris Schellding was responsible for stopping nine shots.
The multi-score game was Brand's third in three contests. He and Fahr share the team-lead with nine goals apiece on the young season.
Johnstown will face a tough task their next time out when they travel to Schuylerville to take on the Black Horses on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Johnstown 8, Hoosick Falls 3
Hoosick Falls2 1 0 0 - 3
Johnstown2 2 2 2 - 8
Goal Scoring Summary
Johnstown: Brand 4, Fahr 2, Robinson, Smith
Hoosick Falls: Labarge, Schrom, Votra