LAKE PLACID - In the highlight match of the 2012 Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tournament, Burnt Orange successfully defended its Masters I division title Sunday with a 9-8 victory over Motive Pure/Laxfu at the North Elba athletic fields.
In a star-studded contest that featured some of the best lacrosse players on the planet, Burnt Orange claimed the victory when Ryan Powell broke an 8-8 deadlock by cashing in on a feed from his brother Casey with less than two minutes remaining in the game.
It marked the fifth trip in a row to the Masters I final and second straight title for Burnt Orange, a team comprised of many legends of the game who played at Syracuse.
Ryan Powell of Burnt Orange sends a shot past a leaping Motive Pure/Laxfu goalie Mike Zoanetti to score the game-winning goal in Sunday’s Masters I championship game in the 23rd Annual Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tournament.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Motive Pure, a team that consisted of many former Cornell and Princeton stars, held the early lead, but Burnt Orange mounted a comeback in the second half by scoring four unanswered goals to erase a 6-4 deficit. Motive Pure then responded with two tallies in a row to tie the contest, only to have an unguarded Ryan Powell bury the game-winner from in close after collecting a feed from Casey Powell from behind the net. Burnt Orange was then able to control the ball on the ensuing face-off and run out the clock."
"To score the game-winning goal on a pass from your older brother in a game like this, that's a pretty memorable moment," Ryan said. "Casey draws a lot of attention when he has the ball, and I kind of think they forgot about me. I was fortunate enough to sneak in there and score.
"This win was a very big deal," Ryan continued. "Whenever I do anything in my life, I want to come out a winner. It was so much fun being back with the guys. The last time I strapped on the pads was a year ago at this tournament."
Burnt Orange could have won by an even larger margin had it not been for the standout play of Motive Pure goalie Mike Zoanetti, a 1998 graduate of Rutgers University. All game long, Zoanetti's saves drew words of praise from the onlookers ringing the field.
"That team we played, they were stacked," Zoanetti said. "And we were stacked too. Ultimately, we would have loved winning, but what's more important is we had a lot of fun and got to run around a bit. We got to play the game at the speed we used to in college. We have a solid team that's a real class act, just like Burnt Orange."
The winning team also featured another member of a dynamic trio as Mike Powell suited up for Burnt Orange. Mike, who was a standout in last year's victory, enjoyed being on the field again with his older brothers.
"Those guys have always been my heros. They're my blood," Mike Powell said. "Ryan's out there playing on bad knees and a sore back and gets the winning goal, that's tough to top.
"We were behind early, and then I think our will to win took over," Mike Powell added. "That's how it's always been at Syracuse. When we have to, Syracuse has always been able to raise the energy level. It's always fun to come out and represent Syracuse on a stage like this."
As has been the case year in and year out, Burnt Orange was coached by Saranac Lake resident Bob "Soot" Zatorski.
"You can call me the coach, but really how can you coach these guys?" Zatorski said. "They know more about the game than I ever will. They are the best of the best. I'll call a timeout here and there and keep an eye on the clock, but that's about all I have to do. For me, it's all about spending time with the players and with their families. It's always a sea of blue and orange here.
"This game was nip-and-tuck all the way," Zatorski added. "We come here with the same team every year, we've made it to the finals for the past five years, and now we have two titles in a row. We're playing pretty well, and that's just fantastic."
Burnt Orange finished with a 4-0 record while Motive Pure/Laxfu went 3-1 in the tournament.
The Masters I contest was one of seven championship games played Sunday as the seven day Lake Placid Summit tournament ended its 23rd season in its glorious Adirondack Mountain setting.
In other finals Sunday: Power Tek topped the Spiders 12-6 in the men's Open I division, the CNY Roadhawks edged the Buffalo Soldiers 9-8 in the men's Open II Division, Graph Tex beat Twisted Sister 10-4 to claim the women's Open I title, the Golden Flyers defeated Burnt Too 12-8 in men's Master's II, the Slo Moes topped Sailin' Shoe 7-5 to claim their second men's Grandmasters crown, and Checkmate slipped past Denison 5-4 to win the men's Grandmasters II championship.
The 23rd annual Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tournament featured 199 teams and more than 3,500 players from across the United States and Canada.