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Canton halts SLP boys magical playoff run

SLP’s Scottie Nicholas, right, fends off Canton’s Hayden Towle during Wednesday’s Section X, Class D championship game at SUNY Canton. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

CANTON — After pulling off two surprising playoff upsets, the Saranac Lake Placid boys lacrosse team met its match in the Canton Golden Bears on Wednesday in the Section X, Class D championship game at SUNY Canton.

The top-seeded Golden Bears dominated from start to finish, routing the sixth-seeded SLP team 19-3 to earn the sectional title.

“We didn’t show up to play,” SLP head coach Kris Miemis said. “The last two games, we were in it and we were committed to playing, we played hard, we were going after ground balls and we always emphasized blue collar lacrosse.”

The sophomore-laden team topped No. 3 Salmon River 12-11 in overtime on May 21, and No. 2 Colton-Pierrepont 9-8 on May 23 on its path to the sectional title game.

“But today, we were turning the ball over and we were having drops,” Miemis said. “We weren’t playing smart. We were trying to rush things and that led us being on our defensive end for most of the game. It was a difficult showing for us today and were hoping for something better but we made it to the championship and that’s something to be proud of.”

The Golden Bears jumped out to a five-goal lead in the first quarter and added one more to open the second. While trailing by six, SLP got on the board when Lukas Miemis found the back of the net on an assist from Kellan Duffy.

Around two minutes later, SLP pushed the score to 6-2 when Scottie Nicholas burried a power play goal. But Canton responded with 13 consecutive goals to essentially earn the sectional title.

Jonney Mclear led the Golden Bears with six goals in the contest, while Joshua Ayrassian and Daniel Creurer recorded three goals each. Canton’s Ethan Francey and Joshua Mclear each had two goals. The team also had goals from Caleb Briggs, Caleb Hartmann and Hayden Towle.

SLP’s Lincoln Norfolk scored the lone goal in the fourth quarter on an assist from Nicholas. SLP’s goaltender Charlie Wilson recorded 17 saves in the contest, while Garritt Palmer had six stops for the Golden Bears.

Kris Miemis said Canton’s defensive pressure, along with SLP’s lack of experience at the varsity level, is partially what got to them. Of the 22 players on SLP’s rosters 16 are sophomores, two are juniors and four are seniors.

“We weren’t able to get the ball into any sort of offensive situations that benefited us because of the pressure and turnovers,” he said. “I think that’s partially because they were young.”

With the win, Canton advanced to the NYSPHSAA regional finals, where it will take on Marcellus Mustangs at noon on Saturday at the Fayetteville-Manlius High School. SLP finished the season with a 6-11 record overall.

It was the first time SLP — which is in its first season back as a varsity squad since 2019 — had ever competed in the sectional title game.

The Saranac Lake lacrosse team last played in the sectional title contest in 2011, when there were just two teams in Section X, Class B. The school’s lone boys lacrosse championship was won in 2005.

The joint Lake Placid and Saranac Lake boys lacrosse program was dropped after the 2019 season due to a lack of players. While there has a been a modified program for the past few years, the varsity program was revived this season.

Kris Miemis said it’s big for the team to not have program the last couple of years and to make it as far as the team did.

“We were just on a tear, the last couple of games,” he said. “The kids were very proud of themselves.”

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