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Pirates conquer Keystone 22-5, move on in playoffs
RR Boys Lacrosse
ROCKY RIVER, Ohio -- A 13-goal second period extricated the Pirates from an early 3-3 tangle, and Rocky River went on to score a program high for goals in a single game in a 22-5 victory over Keystone in Wednesday playoff action.

In a rainswept Rocky River Stadium game pitting the sixth-seeded Pirates against the No. 16 Wildcats, the home side registered three goals in the first quarter, 13 in the second, four in the third, and two in the second. The Pirates rattled off 52 shots; 34 of those were on frame. And River's 22 goals came from 11 different players.

The Double-R now moves forward in the DII Region 5 Tournament brackets. The Pirates will host No. 10 Wooster -- which defeated No. 4 Bay 11-6 Wednesday -- on Friday (6 p.m. opening faceoff).

Wednesday's game was tied 3-3 through one quarter after Keystone goalkeeper Caleb Bores made seven saves in the opening 12 minutes. A Wes Bennett goal seven seconds into the second seemed to open the floodgates for a River offense that went into the contest averaging just 5.8 goals per game. Bennett would finish the night with seven points on four goals and three assists. All four of his goals were scored in the second frame.

The River onslaught included three extra-man goals, as many as the squad had scored in a 3-of-25 slump over its previous eight games. It included nine players netting multiple points, two scoring their first career goals (Kai Delventhal, Dominic Ricketti), and two more logging their first goals of the season (Patrick Connelly, Brody Hahn).

Mack Massad filed three goals, a matching number of assists, 12 ground balls, three caused turnovers, and a 14-2 mark on faceoffs. Robby Lang had a goal, an assist, and three ground balls and yet was not even the top-scoring Lang on the field: brother Andrew Lang chipped in with two netfinders. Ryan Hildebrand tallied three goals. Connelly (2G), Logan Fortune (1G, 1A), Rowan McDougal (2G, 1A), and Ricketti (2G) also registered multiple points for the Pirates, who outshot the Wildcats 52-13.

Kai Delventhal had four ground balls to go with his goal. Trent Delventhal logged seven ground balls and a two spills. Jack McBride added four scoops and two spills.

The turnover exchange some 20-to-70 yards in front of Carter Smith kept the Pirate 'keeper unoccupied for long stretches. Smith would see just seven shots on goal for the game and only a combined three over the final three periods. River logged a season-high 10 caused turnovers, and Keystone's 23 turnovers overall marked the most for a River opponent this season. The Pirates filed 20 miscues and were on the plus side of the turnover exchange for the first time in 2022. The River ride forced the Wildcats into completing just eight clears in 22 attempts.

It all spelled a one-sided affair in the rain. And the second half was played with a running clock.

For the Maroon & White, time has not yet run out. The Sons of Blackbeard now get another chance to defend their home turf.

by Skip Snow

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