BOSTON – A collection of some of Massachusetts top lacrosse talent was on display Monday night as BostonLax presented the Second Annual BostonLax All-American Game to benefit Wounded Warrior Project at Boston University’s Nickerson Field.
Hunter Arnold (Acton-Boxboro) and Jay Drapeau (Westford Academy) each scored four goals and Michael McCormack (Mt. Greylock) added two goals and two assists to lead Team Under Armour in a 20-14 victory over Team Cascade.
Danny Seibel (Belmont Hill) scored four goals to lead Team Cascade, Mike Panepinto (Needham) added a hat trick and James Burr (Middlesex), Travis Reid (Bridgewater-Raynham) and Morgan Cheek (Nobles) each scored twice. Acton-Boxboro’s J.T. Kelly dished out three assists.
South Hadley’s T.J. Fitzell was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, scoring back to back goals in the middle of a 7-0 run in the second quarter that helped push Team Under Armour in front for good.
“It was a lot of fun and I got to meet a lot guys that are from the area that I hadn’t met before,” Fitzell following the game. “It’s for a great cause so it was a great thing to be a part of, especially to be at a great venue like BU, to come out and perform was quite exciting.”
He added, “We were a little sloppy on offense in the first quarter but most of us had never played together before. We slowed it down a little bit, got some better shots and started pumping in some goals.”
Arnold scored the game’s goal for Team Under Armour but Team Cascade reeled off four straight with a pair of goals from Burr around scores by Seibel and Panepinto, to take a 4-1 lead.
Catholic Memorial’s Kevin Bletzer unleashed a rocket to get one back for Under Armour in the final minute of the first, starting the 7-0 run. McCormack scored to open the second, then Drapeau converted a feed from Thayer’s Harry Giarrusso to tie the game.
Fitzell buried the next two, then Sean Lowrie (Roxbury Latin) ripped in an unassisted goal and set up Dover-Sherborn freshman Bailey Laidman for another to push the Under Armour lead to 8-4 with 4:10 left in the first half.
Reid scored twice in succession for Cascade, then Medfield’s John MacLean and Groton-Dunstable’s Quintin Forbes responded for Under Armour and finally, Cheek snapped in his first with 11 seconds left to pull Cascade closer at 10-7.
“It was just an unbelievable experience playing with the best players in Massachusetts,” said MacLean, who scored twice in the game. “A lot of these players make great plays seem easy and I thought it was really fun. No one really cared about winning and losing, it was all about fun.”
The two teams traded goals back and forth throughout the third. Acton-Boxboro LSM Austin Wolf, Drapeau, Forbes, McCormack and Arnold all scored for for Under Armour; Seibel potted three of his goals in the frame for Cascade, who also got scores from Cheek and Panepinto.
The lone penalty of the game occurred early in the fourth when Medfield’s Matt Crowell was whistled for a 30-second violation, and Warriors teammate MacLean made him play, getting the finish on a pass from Xaverian’s Jack Wheeler for the extra-man tally.
Duxbury goalie Nick Marrocco (eight saves) and his defense held Cascade scoreless for nearly 11 minutes of the final frame while his Under Armour teammates scored four straight with Arnold tacking on his last two while Drapeau added another.
The fun really began to pick up from there, as would expected from this collection of talent in an all-star game setting. Panepinto burst into the middle of the Under Armour defense and fired in a spectacular behind-the-back goal on the run, and after a score from teammate Drew Smiley (St. John’s), Drapeau duplicated Panepinto’s flashy goal with a behind-the-back snipe of his own.
“I just came off a great season at Thayer with a bunch of my good friends and it’s fun to be able to finish it off with a couple of them out here,” said defenseman Jon Barry, who joined fellow All-American game selections Tyler Blaisdell and Giarrusso in representing the ISL champion Tigers. “The skill out there was the best I’ve seen and played against. The biggest difference I noticed were the shots form the midfielders, they were a lot quicker than I’m used so I was shuffling around a bit out there but it was awesome to be part of this game.”
He added, “You can’t get mad, you can’t be upset, it’s all about having fun and this was for a great cause.”