BENNINGTON -- It is one of the most commonly used phrases in any sport -- you play until the final whistle.
On Monday afternoon, the Mount Anthony Union High School boys lacrosse team found that out the hard way, coughing up a five-goal lead in the fourth quarter before a goal from Woodstock's Haven Lantz in overtime lifted the Wasps to an 11-10 comeback win at the Veteran's Home Field.
"We were dominating the first three quarters, but I tell the guys all the time it's a four quarter game," said MAU coach Paul Reif. "I think we got a little too comfortable with a five-goal lead. The rest is history. They wanted it more than we did."
When Damon Young (3 goals) put MAU up 10-5 with 1:46 left in the third, the game looked to be all-but-over. The Patriots had recovered from Friday's gut-wrenching loss to Brattleboro and the offense was firing while the defense was playing solid at the back.
But then, it was as if a switch was flicked in the break between the third and fourth quarters.
Jonas Kantola opened the scoring for the Wasps in the fourth, striking on an unassisted effort with two minutes gone to make it 10-6.
Then, the stings kept coming.
The next was two minutes later, and a third by Nehemiah Wood cut the score to 10-8 with 7:37 left to play. Three minutes later, and Oliver Kaija took a pass from Jackson Wood to make it 10-9.
Reif took a timeout 30 seconds later, and from the four minute mark to the minute mark things quieted down as neither side found the back of the cage.
The killer for MAU came one second later.
Senior defender Antonio Mintrone was whistled for a push, resulting in a 30-second penalty that put Woodstock a man up.
Lantz made the Patriots play, scoring on another unassisted effort when he came from around the back of the net and onto Jackson Thibodeau's right side. Taking a jump in the air, Lantz whipped his stick around and beat Thibodeau, who made 14 saves in the game, to tie things up at 10-10.
"I thought our penalties really killed us and gave them all of the momentum," Reif said. "[And] I felt offensively we got away from what we were doing the first three quarters."
Woodstock's coach, Brandon Little, said that his team's comeback came down to determination.
"I wish there was a miracle speech, but there wasn't," Little said. "I knew we could play better than we were. It had to start at either end, it wasn't going to be the midfield. I told the goalie to step up and told the attack it was their responsibility."
Woodstock had a chance to seal the game with under 10 seconds left, but a shot from Nehemiah Wood was saved well by Thibodeau, forcing the game to an extra period.
In the extra period, Woodstock took the face-off, but the Patriots' defense stepped up and force the ball loose. Jacob Normyle picked the ball up and started running at the Wasps' defense with his long pole, but as he got into the attacking area Reif called a timeout to try and sort out an offensive setup.
There would be no goal, though, and Woodstock came back down the other way. The ball went out of play in the MAU defensive zone, but Woodstock recovered and, on the restart, Kantola found Lantz in front and Lantz made no mistake in his placement, tucking it past Thibodeau for the win.
"Haven was a starter last year and I was looking for him to lead down at that end," Little said. "He doesn't always have to do it himself, he just has to keep the players involved, and that's what he did today."
Lantz finished with four goals, a game high, and three assists to lead the Wasps.
But the combined efforts of Young and Nick Altland almost made Lantz's game a moot point, as the duo struck twice each in the third quarter to turn a 6-3 halftime lead into a 10-5 one going into the fourth.
"I was extremely happy with the way they came out and rebounded from the game on Friday," Reif said of his team that lost in a comeback bid to the Colonels on Friday. "Today, we did the opposite. We were up and we blew a lead instead of being down to start and trying to come back."
The loss drops MAU to 3-6 on the year. While Reif admits that the record is not pretty to look at, he tried to keep the loss in perspective.
"It's a long season. It's really tough for our kids to swallow right now, but we will get through this and be a better team because of this."
Young led the Patriots with three goals, while Altland added an assist to his tally. Briar Wilkinson had two assists in the loss and Avery Peck had two goals. In net for Woodstock, Ben Orr had nine saves. Kaija had three goals and an assist.
The Wasps move to 3-2 on the year. MAU has a quick turnaround, as the Patriots return to action today at home against Burr and Burton Academy.