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Pirates prevail in double-OT
Mack Massad
ROCKY RIVER, Ohio -- Rocky River eked out an 8-7 victory over Bay Tuesday. The triumph over the Rockets was earned in a second overtime frame when junior midfielder Mack Massad broke a 23-minute Pirate scoring drought with a game-winner in the Northern Ohio Lacrosse League battle at Rocky River Stadium.

The Pirates (4-2, 3-1 NOLL) saw a 7-3 lead melt away over the final 16 minutes of regulation play. Rockets junior Zach Rose, who had scored two first-half goals, scored two more in the Bay comeback. The visitors held River to just eight shots and three shots on goal over the third and fourth quarters combined. But Mack's final shot -- his third point of the night after two earlier assists -- lifted the Pirates to their second straight overtime conquest and the team's fourth win in a row.

Five different goal scorers found the back of the net in the Maroon & White opening a 6-3 lead by halftime. When junior attackman Tyler Fortune netted his second goal of the night at 6:19 of the third period, the Rocky River lead stood at 7-3. Fortune and junior Ryan Hildebrand were River's leading goal scorers on the night; they each landed two.

The Rockets ensuing game-tying comeback may have been a game-winning comeback if it hadn't been for junior goalkeeper Carter Smith. The guardian of the Pirate twine registered a 10-bell stop at 8:20 of the fourth and then another -- preserving a 7-7 tie -- at the 36-second mark. Smith went the route and finished with six saves.

The box score tally had each side pegged for 27 shots and 13 shots on goal. Rocky River was a plus-6 in ground balls (27-21); the Rockets (3-3, 1-2) were a plus-4 in turnovers (7 to 11). The game featured just one penalty infraction -- a late-second-quarter foul on Bay -- and deliberate possessions throughout.

Massad's performance included a 9-6 evening on faceoffs. The dual-sport standout (football) is now 54-26 (67.5%) this season on midfield scrums.

"That was a real clutch play at the end," said head coach Griffin Vehar, whose Pirates are now 4-0 in games decided by two goals-or-less. "Our defense also came up with some big stops, too."

One thing that was not stopped? Rocky River's win streak against the neighbors to the west. The Pirates are now 17-0 across 17 all-time meetings with the Rockets.


The Sons of Blackbeard upped their 2022 home record to 2-1. The Double-R is 10-1 over its last 11 games on home turf.

EIGHTY-SIXED BY 8s AND 7s: In an odd tumble of game results, all three of Bay's losses this year (March 26 to Toledo St. John's, March 31 to Westlake) have been in games the Rockets have been outscored 8-7.

ON DECK: Rocky River's next game will be Saturday when the Pirates travel to Hunting Valley to take on the University School Preppers (noon start time).

by Skip Snow

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