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Demons dial it up in third, Pirates fall 7-5
Robby Lang
WESTLAKE, Ohio -- Rocky River was undone by a big Westlake third quarter, as the Pirates fell to the Demons 7-5 Wednesday. In a game started but then suspended due to storms on Tuesday, the west-side Northern Ohio Lacrosse League neighbors were neck-and-neck in a defensive tussle until the Demons scored five straight goals over a nine-minute stretch in the third. The Pirates rallied for three goals in the fourth but came up on the losing end of a 7-5 final.

Sophomore Ryan Skowronski opened the floodgates in that Westlake third with a goal at the 9:23-mark. Skowronski would also tally two assists in that surge and finish the night with three points. Junior Mack Massad registered two goals and two assists -- while going 9-1 on 10 faceoffs -- for the visitors. But the Pirates were hampered by 20 turnovers in being defeated for the seventh time in eight games since April 9.

Westlake took a 1-0 lead when senior Max Katigbak worked himself free for an open look from 7 yards out at 9:53 of the first. Rocky River answered 50 seconds later when Massad scored his first of the game. Those first three minutes were played under tornado-warning conditions on Tuesday. Massad's lightning-strike goal was accompanied by the real thing, and the match was suspended.

Fast forward to Wednesday evening and the final 45 minutes of the 48-minute contest.

The 1-1 score made its way to the middle of the second period when Westlake senior Andrew Toner dented twine on a top-shelf job. Toner's marker would be the lone score in the game for a stretch of 22 minutes-and-54 seconds -- from 9:00 of the first to 10:06 of the third. At 10:06 of the third, River tied the game (2-2) when sophomore Rowan McDougal netted his 15th of the season, a nifty transition goal on an artful feed from Massad.

The 2-2 tie lasted all of 43 seconds. Skowronski got his goal, and the Demons were -- in this Derby Week -- off to the races. And to continue the analogy, the lead they would build by the top of the stretch would prove to be insurmountable.

Five different Westlake players scored in the third-frame onslaught. The Pirates were twice man-down in the third, and the Demons outshot them 10-4.

Westlake held River off the board until until the 7:33-mark of the fourth, when sophomore Andrew Lang planted a 10-yarder after a dodge. The Pirates got two more late goals -- junior Wes Bennett's seventh of the season and Massad's 15th -- but they again had to work around two man-down stretches. and Westlake was able to clock the 7-5 triumph.

For the game, the Pirates outshot the Demons 22-21 and put 16 shots on frame to Westlake's 10. But Rocky River (5-9, 4-4 NOLL) was a minus-8 (20-12) in turnovers, and Westlake held the Maroon & White scoreless in three extra-man opportunities.

The contest marked River's final NOLL game of the 2022 season: the Pirates finished 4-4 in circuit play. Rocky River is scheduled to close out its regular season with two non-conference games (Friday at Walsh, May 11 versus Chagrin Falls).


River took 26-of-43 ground balls. Mack Massad had eight ground balls and a caused turnover. Andrew Lang registered 4 GB and Wes Bennett added three. Robby Lang logged 6 GB and 2 CT. His third ground ball marked his 50th of the season. Lang heads into Friday's contest with 53 GB and 24 CT.

MACK ATTACK: Mack Massad has registered five goals and three assists over the team's last four games. For the season, Massad has tallied 15G and 7A while going 107-65 (62.2%) on 172 faceoffs.

SERIES TIES: Westlake's victory Wednesday leveled the all-time Pirates-Demons series at seven games apiece. The two programs first met on May 12, 2006.

by Skip Snow

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