By Phil Garceau, HockomockSports.com Contributor
COHASSET, Mass. – It comes as no surprise that the Franklin boys lacrosse team come loaded with plenty of offensive standouts. Eric Civetti, Austin Kent and Jared Trainor are a few that jump off the page, but we are quickly learning about perhaps the Panthers’ best kept secret in a shutdown defense.
That unit, led by long poles Wyatt Arsenault and Sean Lockhart and aided by goaltender Connor O’Rourke quieted a volatile Cohasset offense on Friday evening, but the Skippers had just enough to spoil a monumental road victory.
While Franklin largely shutdown the Skippers’ Danny Axelson on the evening, the Providence-bound midfielder emerged in the final five minutes of play, splitting a Franklin double team to net the eventual game-winner in Cohasset’s 8-7 victory over the Panthers.
Civetti (three goals) scored a minute later cutting the deficit down to one, but an untimely slashing call with 1:54 remaining, paired up with four turnovers between the two squads in the final 72 seconds was enough to give Cohasset the win.
“We made some mental errors that cost us and they extended on us,” Franklin coach Lou Verrochi said. “They out-toughed us in a lot of ground ball situations and that dictated how the game went.”
Franklin falls to 3-2 on the season, with both losses coming to non-conference juggernauts in BC High and Cohasset, two losses that while they may sting, will certainly make for the better in the long term.
The Panthers fell to the Eagles after holding an early 4-0 lead last week, and inconsistent offense down the stretch again led to their downfall on Friday evening.But that learning lessons will likely go far for a young team that is loaded with speed and talent.
“These kids will regroup, they are really resilient,” Verrochi said. “We have the Creators’ Cup next week and it will be very competitive. Last year we had Billerica and lost 10-9, and I’d be disappointed if we didn’t get there again because we have the horses to play with anyone.”
Between the second and third quarter, the Panthers scored just one goal, a transition tally that came from Kent in the second period that at the time gave Franklin a 5-4 lead.
The offense that erupted fro four first-quarter goals was shutdown by a Cohasset defense that began to solve the Panther’s tendencies. Mixing in the loss of Trainor to a knee injury in the second quarter didn’t help the cause.
“They were just very, very good, (Kent and Civetti) had a tough time driving on their poles, they are very good and sort of neutralized us,” Verrochi said. “They have been our big weapons all year, they got their share of goals, but we lost one of our middies in Trainor.”
While the offense sputtered during that period, the Franklin defense thrived in that span, as O’Rourke (six saves) came up with a handful of saves, none bigger than a point-blank stop on Cohasset’s Ryan Donovan.
Cohasset began to figure out the Franklin defense in the fourth quarter, taking a 4-4 game at the start and scoring two quick goals off the stick of Will Thomas (two goals) and Kyle Mcfetridge sent the Panthers onto the wrong side of a two-goal deficit.
Kent (two goals) again emerged in crunch time, closing the gap to one goal, but Axelson’s individual effort to get to the cage was the dagger than Franklin couldn’t recover from.
The Panthers go into the break with a 3-2 record, with three games slates over vacation week, all which are apart of the Creators’ Cup. That begins with Masconoment (1-5) at Walpole High on Tuesday afternoon.