BOYS LACROSSE: Clarkston escapes Eisenhower's upset bid, advances to third straight regional title game | North Oakland Sports

BOYS LACROSSE: Clarkston escapes Eisenhower’s upset bid, advances to third straight regional title game

| May 29, 2014 | Comments (0)





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TROY — After averaging over 20 goals a game during the past month, Clarkston finally found a near-equal Wednesday night in its Division 1 regional semifinal with Utica Eisenhower.

Clarkston, in the midst of its third straight lengthy state tournament run, had difficulties with the Eagles, in particular sophomore goaltender Logan Shamblin.

Like all experienced and talent-rich programs, Clarkston finally solved Shamblin and upset-minded Eisenhower, pulling away in the second half for a 12-6 victory at Troy Athens.

Clarkston (17-2-0), which has recorded at least 16 wins in each of the past three seasons, advances to its third straight regional title match and will face fellow state power Novi Detroit Catholic Central at 7 p.m. Friday, also at Athens.

“Logan is a great goalkeeper,” said Clarkston coach Brian Kaminskas of the Wolves’ nemesis. “We have watched him all offseason. Our guys worked with him in the offseason, taking shots on him and what not. We knew coming in that he knew what he was doing.”

Shamblin recorded a 19 saves, including several from close-range, and kept the Eagles within striking distance for the entire first half. Clarkston led 3-0 after the first quarter and 4-1 midway through the second period before Eisenhower clawed back to within 5-4 at the break.

The Wolves opened up the third quarter and created a little breathing room on the Eagles, thanks to a 4-0 run over a 4:26 span. All-American Connor Ward had two goals and two assists in that mini run that put the Wolves up 9-4 with 2:59 to play in the third quarter.

Eisenhower could never climb any closer than four goals over the final 14 minutes of action.

Kaminskas, whose team reached the Final Four last season and the regional finals in 2012, said he never believed that his team would get rattled despite carrying just a one-goal lead into the third frame.

“I don’t get that nervous feeling anymore,” smiled Kaminskas. “That is what I told the guys at halftime. There is no reason to panic, no reason to get upset. Teams are going to go on a run. Worst thing for them was that halftime came. We were going to come out and play our game in the third quarter and we did.”

Clarkston displayed its high-energy and potent attacking offense over the final two quarters, outscoring the Eagles 7-2 in the second half.

“Clarkston is an excellent team. They executed their game plan and we fumbled a little bit,” offered Eisenhower coach Paul Mikaila. “We hit the poles a few times in the game and (Shamblin) played great. We felt if we could have score on a couple of those shots (that hit the post) we would have been right there with them.”

Jake Smolerak scored with 14.9 seconds left in the half to make it 5-4, while Jack Tobiczyk had two goals and an assist for Eisenhower.

Ward finished with four goals and two assists for Clarkston. Conner Dziewit added a goal and five assists, Keaton Mitchell had three goals and an assist, Reid Kaminski and Scott Allen and Robert Hall had single goals for Clarkston.

The Wolves will play Catholic Central for the regional title. CC upended Clarkston 11-9 back on March 27 in the season opener.

“We are excited that we are going back to the (regional) finals,” said Kaminskas. “It has been on our calendar all year. It is against (Catholic Central), the first game of the season we had. We thought it was a good game for the first game. We are happy with where we are at. We’ll be ready for them.

“We have a couple things we are going to throw at them,” continued Kaminskas. “We’ve changed some offensive schemes. We know what we are going to do, but we have to put four quarters together. (Catholic Central coach Dave Wilson) has a good group over there. It is going to be a fun rematch.”

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