LAKE PLACID - After six years of coming close, Graph Tex finally won a title competing in the Men's Masters 1 Division at the 24th annual Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tournament.
The squad made up of Colgate alumni, along with some other former college standouts, had to go into sudden-death overtime to win its first championship in the division. In a see-saw game on Aug. 11, Graph Tex denied the Burnt Orange's bid for a three-peat when Peter Millimar scored in overtime to lift his team to a 9-8 victory over the graduates from Syracuse University.
Not only did Millimar net the game-winner in overtime, he also notched the last three goals in regulation for Graph Tex, which finished the tournament with a 4-0 record.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
A player from the Olden Flyers shoots just wide of the net against Team Harpoon/Native Staffing in the Masters 2 title game.
"It feels good to finally get past those guys," said Millimar, who hails from Rochester and played for Gettysburg College. "We've been right in the hunt, but they always seemed to beat us in the semifinals or the finals in the past. Their team is loaded with great players.
"We were kind of short on numbers, so we tried to slow it down," Millimar continued. "We had to be patient and pick our spots. I think the game plan worked out pretty nicely."
Burnt Orange held a 5-3 advantage in the game, and Graph Tex responded with five straight goals to grab what looked like a comfortable 8-5 edge well into the fourth quarter. With a sizable crowd of Syracuse lacrosse fans lining the field, Burnt Orange then rallied with three unanswered tallies, including the game-tying goal with just seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. Millimar, however, ended Burnt Orange's hopes for a third championship in a row when he buried a shot on the first Graph Tex possession of sudden-death.
"Both teams played their hearts out," said Burnt Orange coach Bob "Soot" Zatorski, a Saranac Lake resident. "You couldn't have asked for a better match. We've been playing those guys for a long time, and they came up a goal better than we did this time. I'm just thankful for all the Syracuse support that we see here year after year."
"Coming in here, especially as the defending champion, you always know it's going to be difficult," said Burnt Orange captain Chris McCartan. "The competition here is great. Obviously, you always want to win, but it's hard to say you are disappointed when you are with your friends, with your family, in the mountains and having the time of your life."
In another close Lake Placid Summit championship game, Power Tek successfully defended its Men's Open 1 title, topping the Big Red Steelheads 13-11 in a battle of teams with loads of players from central New York.
"This is the only time, once a year, when we get together to have a little fun," said Graph Tex goalie Chris Lalli after the game as he nursed a split-open chin. "This division has 16 teams that are all good, and every game is competitive, so we're pretty happy going 4-0 to win a championship.
"We picked each other up on both sides of the ball," Lalli added. "We struggled scoring goals on occasion this week, and that's when our defense came through. And when our defense struggled, we did get some offense. Hopefully, we can come back and make it three in a row next year."
Ten championship games were played Aug. 11 on the final day of the tournament in Lake Placid. In the Men's Open 2, Power Strangers posted a 9-4 victory over Stixx and Stones' and Team STX topped LaxStaches 12-3 to win the Women's Open 1 division. In the Women's Open Division 2, Goons With Spoons edged Team Renegade 8-7 for the title.
Harpoon/Native Staffing topped the Olden Flyers 13-9 to take the Men's Masters 2 title, Pure Performance defeated Brown State 11-7 in Men's Masters 3, Salin Shoe stopped the Slo Moes 7-3 for the Men's Grand Masters crown, Checkmate beat Cloudsplitters 10-3 in the Men's Grand Masters 2 final. and The Guinness Stouts handed the OWU Legends a 6-4 setback to win the Mens Grand Masters 3 title.
The seven-day Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tournament featured more than 230 teams. The dates for the 25th Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tournament next year are set for Aug. 4-10.
"The scope of the tournament has certainly broadened over the past few years," Zatorski said. "They've brought in the juniors, just like they did with the women's divisions. Not only is it the largest tournament in the world, it makes more money for Lake Placid than any other event. It's the highlight of everybody's summer."