The Shelton High boys lacrosse team lost to Masuk High, 9-7, in Monroe on Saturday, despite things starting out great for the Gaels in their season-opening out-of-conference game.
The Gaels seized a 3-0 lead after one quarter of play, only to see the Panthers turn the tables in the second quarter to make it a 3-3 game at halftime.
Masuk improved to 1-2; Shelton had earlier games rescheduled because of weather.
“The start was great. If we had kept going like that it should have been ours,” Shelton coach Matt Read said.
Shelton’s Casey Brennan scored a hat-trick to lead the offense. Nick Pagliuso, Nick Pavone, Jake Oddo and Cole Krajcsik also scored. Connor Greene had an assist.
Faceoff man Tyler Pjatak and Jack Carr had four and three ground ball pickups, respectively.
Shelton goaltender Isaiah DeLoatch made three saves, and Dashel Kline stopped two shots.
The Gaels were hurt by penalties, eight of them overall, including four in the final quarter, helping to allow the Panthers to chew valuable time off the scoreboard clock with the Gaels attempting to stage a late comeback.
Masuk led 6-5 to start the fourth. Shelton evened the score on a goal by Brennan, but the Panthers got the next three. Brennan moved in along the goal line from the left side and scored on a sharp angle to make it 9-7 with 1:02 to play, but the Gaels couldn’t get over the hump.
Masuk goaltender Chris Tillotson made 11 saves, including a few late in regulation to stymie Shelton’s comeback attempt.
“He had three drop-dead saves at the end that finished us,” Read said. “It wasn’t a lack of effort. A couple more goals in the first quarter or first half for us and we keep our momentum.”
Shelton’s coach was pleased with his team’s efforts, particularly when the Panthers had the ball.
“We have a very solid defensive unit overall,” said Read, adding that middie Oddo stood out on the defensive end.
“We moved the ball pretty well. We didn’t show our athleticism completely on the offensive end,” Read said. “[The Panthers] were playing faster than we were. We didn’t play as fast as we should have. “We’ve got talent — there’s no doubt about it. This is a tough, hard-nosed team.”