By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/16/12
Chris Baldwin scored with 2:13 remaining in sudden-death overtime today to lift Magerk’s to a stunning 11-10 victory over GMH Philadelphia in the American Lacrosse League championship game at Malvern Prep.
GMH Philadelphia (11-1) owned an 8-4 lead in the second half and led, 10-8, with just over five minutes to play. But Magerk’s (9-0) closed within 10-9 and then sent it into overtime on Baldwin’s tally with 1:08 left in regulation.
Baldwin, named the game’s MVP, then won it after a costly GMH turnover by beating his man behind the cage and finishing against GMH goalie Joe Canuso (Villanova grad, Villanova assistant coach).
“We have a good group of guys that sticks together and tries not to fall apart,” said Baldwin, a Stevenson University and Calvert Hall grad who scored three goals. “We like to have fun and play hard.”
Magerk’s crown was its first ever in the post-collegiate league. Last year it fell to Nyack (N.Y.) in the championship game.
GMH Philadelphia, meanwhile, was looking to win its second ALL title in three years. And for a while the prospects looked good.
GMH broke open a 3-3 game as Colin Ambler (Drexel, Abington) and Rob Forster (Penn State, La Salle) scored to make it 5-3 in the second period. Magerk’s got within 5-4, but Jake Plunkett (Albright coach) gave GMH a 6-4 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, Forster scored off a Mike Podgajny (Notre Dame, Ridley) feed and David Gaunt (Lehigh) then made it 8-4 with 14:10 left in the period. But Magerk’s closed within 8-6 at the end of the period as face-off specialist JJ Miller (only two losses) dominated and his team took advantage of its possessions.
“We just played too much defense in the second half,” said GMH General manager Chris McNichol, whose team has won six straight ALL Philadelphia Division titles. “Their second-half goalie was good and we hit a lot of pipes. It’s always a fun opportunity to play a Maryland team, but it is what it is.”
Zach Furshman had seven saves for Magerk’s in the second half while Charles Flocker had seven in the first half. Canuso was solid all game.
Jordan Kenney and Pete Cannon each scored twice for Magerk’s while Greg Fershman, Neil Goldman and Ben Smith each scored once. For GMH, Forster had three goals and Plunkett scored twice while Kyle Wharton (Johns Hopkins, Haverford School) and Mike Holloway (Villanova) also scored.
“It’s a bummer but it was a good season,” said Holloway, a team co-sponsor. “Our goalie played great, but we didn’t have enough offensive possessions. In a game like that, being up 8-4, you have to possess the ball and when we did we threw it away too quickly.
“Hats off to Magerk’s.
“But it was an awesome year; it’s what we play for. We have a great team and I wouldn’t change anything.”
Added GMH coach Jeff Murray: “The face-offs become a big issue down the stretch and they took real care of the ball possession-wise. They chipped their way back in, and their goalie made some crucial stops down the stretch when they needed it.
“It’s a great contest and we’re excited to bea part of it,. That these guys can get out there and play at this high a level – Philly vs. Baltimore, it’s a classic lacrosse battle.”