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Lakers rally past West Linn

by: Vern Uyetake, 
Lake Oswego’s Sean Silverstein tries to get free in front of West Linn’s net during Tuesday’s game. Silverstein had two second-quarter goals to help key his team’s comeback.

Lake Oswego only had West Linn in its way to complete a perfect first half of league play.

And, with the Lions and Lakeridge expected to be the Lakers' biggest obstacles this year, a win in Tuesday's game would go a long way toward securing the league's No. 1 seed.

In a somewhat bizarre game, West Linn dominated one quarter and Lake Oswego dominated two and the result was a 12-8 victory for the Lakers.

For a while it looked like Lake Oswego was going to get run off the field.

The Lakers were thoroughly outmatched for the first 12 minutes of play. Lake Oswego barely received possession in the first quarter and only got off two shots for the entire period.

West Linn forced turnovers in the early going and won virtually every face-off and contested ground ball.

As a result, the Lions jumped out to a 5-0 lead that left West Linn fans ecstatic and Lake Oswego fans stunned.

But virtually everyone in attendance knew that the Lakers would make a run and, more often than not, it would happen quickly.

And sure enough, just two minutes into the second quarter, Sean Silverstein came up with a loose ball in front of West Linn's net and scored his team's first goal.

To say the goal sparked the Lakers would be a gross understatement.

Lake Oswego poured in four goals in 66 seconds, winning face-offs and dramatically stealing momentum.

Bobby Crowder and Charlie Wagner each scored and Silverstein knocked in his second of the game to cut the lead to one.

West Linn managed to regroup and rallied with another goal but it was evident that Lake Oswego had the Lions right where it wanted them.

Chris Zinsmeister scored with five minutes to play in the half and, after another West Linn goal, Chase Clausen scored his first of the game with a minute and a half to play in the quarter.

Laker goalie Forrest Jackson made a terrific stop late in the half and a pair of Lake Oswego shot attempts were turned away, leaving the score 7-6 in favor of West Linn at the break.

The opening minutes of the second half figured to be crucial as the game had already featured two huge momentum shifts.

West Linn won the face-off but the shot the Lions got off was saved by Jackson. Lake Oswego got possession and quickly went down the field leading to a pretty goal by Blake Heim two minutes into the quarter to tie the game.

Heim was virtually unstoppable in the third quarter and took over the game almost by himself.

Thirty seconds after tying the game he scored again from a tough angle to give Lake Oswego its first lead of the game.

Then, with five and a half minutes to play in the quarter, Heim scored again on a deep shot.

Meanwhile, the Lakers' defense was phenomenal, keeping West Linn off the board for the entire quarter.

Lake Oswego dominated possession and were the aggressors on both sides of the ball.

One minute after giving his team a two-goal advantage, Heim forced a turnover which led to another goal by Silverstein.

Then, with two minutes to play in the quarter, Heim scored again capping a stellar quarter which saw the Lakers take an 11-7 lead.

With their backs against the wall the Lions got possession early in the fourth quarter but struggled to get off a good shot. Lake Oswego kept West Linn off the board again and, when the Lakers got the ball back, they were content to run time off the clock to seal the game.

Each team scored once more in the quarter but West Linn failed to get itself back in the game.

The victory moves the Lakers to 6-0 in league and 9-1 on the year.

Lake Oswego controls its own destiny for the remainder of the season. If the Lakers can win out, they will clinch the important No. 1 seed entering the playoffs.

However, the team can't afford a letdown. Lake Oswego has rematches against both West Linn and Lakeridge coming up. The team's next game will be on Friday against Clackamas.