Smith made 16 saves and staved off 10 of 12 shot attempts in the fourth quarter to salvage a 7-5 win for the Trojans over Northview in the AJO4LAX Fest at the Pope Multi-Sport Complex.
Northview (5-4) came right at Lassiter (7-0) to open the fourth quarter, but one of the Trojans’ strengths on defense is anticipation. Lassiter’s defenders were in position to thwart most of Northview’s shots, making the Titans rush a few attempts.
Northview took five shots at goal in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, with four missing their mark and one landing in Smith’s net. Even though the one Northview shot managed to get through at the 9:23 mark, Lassiter still thwarted scoring attempts until the Titans took a man-up advantage with 1:30 left and scored again.
But Northview’s comeback threat ended with 52 seconds left in the game, when it was called for slashing.
“We always talk to each other and try to keep the intensity up,” said Smith, who was named the game’s most valuable player. “We wanted to make stops and allow no goals. (Northview) got through a few times, but we had a good, solid defensive game.”
Lassiter came out aggressively on offense, and after building a 2-0 lead in the first 2 minutes of the game on goals by Stuart Goodall and Jack Fitzharris, but Northview adjusted and Lassiter got impatient.
The Trojans wouldn’t score again until the fifth minute of the second quarter, after Northview had two quick unanswered goal to start the frame. It came shortly after winning their faceoff attempt, when Alex Lipsky fired a lengthy shot from the left side off a short pass by Garrett Shank.
After David Olson increased Lassiter’s lead to 4-2 on an unassisted goal in the first minute of the second half, Lassiter settled offensively and maintained at least a two-goal lead for the rest of the way.
“We have a tendency to rush a little bit,” Lassiter coach Brendan Leezer said. “Our big message at halftime was to relax and let the defense step it up.”
Fitzharris, who also had two goals, scored a wraparound goal on a bounce five minutes later to increase Lassiter’s lead to 5-2. After Northview got a goal back, the Trojans struck again on a man-up situation with a goal by Gerard Smith. Olson’s second goal came 34 seconds later for a four-goal lead going into the final period.
Kevin Colton scored four of Northview’s five goals.