Mustangs fall to Akron 10-9 in double overtime

Gary Pinneo
Penn Yan's #8 Conner Fingar is well-covered by an Akron defender.

One second. A single tick of the clock. Depending on your view or situation, that tick of the clock can seem so different. In the world of sports, if you are trailing in a contest and trying to tie the score, that second can speed by like a gazelle. If you are protecting a slim lead, that same second moves at a snail's pace. But that mere tick of the clock can change a team's fortunes in literally a blink of an eye.

Such was the case in Saturday's Boy's lacrosse New York State Western Regional showdown between the Penn Yan Mustangs and Akron Tigers of Section VI at St. John Fisher College. The Orange and Blue laxers seemed poised to advance to Wednesday NYS semifinal game at North Syracuse/Cicero. Akron had battled back to within 1 goal, and only 5 seconds remained in regulation. Penn Yan appeared to be in the catbird seat. They had beaten Akron three straight years in this same game. A fourth time seemed to be within reach. Next Wednesday's arrangement could be arranged. Warm up the bus. But then came that solitary second.

Penn Yan enjoyed a 9-8 lead with 5 seconds remaining. The Mustang defense seemed to have every scoring avenue closed off with the clock ticking down to 1 second. In desperation, Akron's talented Owen Hall unleashed an underhand, low shot. Inexplicably the low trajectory rocket shot missed a forest of sticks and knees, whizzed past the Penn Yan goalie, and found its way into the back of the net. In less than a second, the game was tied and fortunes were changed for both teams. In double overtime, Akron scored and the Section VI Tigers earned their ticket to the semifinals of Class D. The same scoreboard that minutes before had read 9-8 in favor of the Mustangs with 1 second remaining, now reported the disappointing news to the Penn Yan team and faithful. Akron 10, Penn Yan 9. The winner moves on and the other team goes home.

The game was a closely fought contest between two talented, well coached teams. The Mustangs jumped out to a 3-1 lead after one quarter and held a 5-4 lead at the half. The Akron Tigers knotted the score at 5 early in the 3rd quarter, but Penn Yan scored 3 unanswered goals to grab an 8-5 lead with just 12 minutes left. Akron fought back to within 1 goal (9-8) with 3 minutes remaining. And then came that one second.

Akron almost won the game in the first 30 seconds of the first overtime. But Penn Yan's goalie, Jeff Kinyoun made a brilliant save to stave off an instant loss. Penn Yan also had to battle through a man down situation in the first overtime. Actually, both teams had opportunities to win the game in O.T. but couldn't convert. But well into the second overtime period, Akron connected on a brilliant passing play to score the game winner. Of course the aforementioned Owen Hall was right in the middle of it. His pin point pass produced the game winner. Talk about fate and fortunes.

Conner Fingar led the Mustangs offense with 5 goals and 2 assists. Austin Blumbergs added 3 goals and 1 assist. Dylan Stape supplied the other Mustang goal. Ben Emerson chipped in 2 assists while Will Rogers added 1 helper. Jeff Kinyoun recorded 6 saves in the nets while Jared Calice added 1 save.

The loss ended the Mustang's State Tournament run for 2017. They ended the 2017 campaign with a 10-10 record. They certainly will regroup and reset their sights on another season and another tournament run. 2018 will be a new year for sure.