Posted on Sunday January 22, 2012
The Kentucky Stickhorses kicked off the North American Lacrosse League Pro Invitational Season with a victory over the Jersey Jesters on Saturday night in Freedom Hall. Spirits were high for an event that was the debut of professional lacrosse for both Louisville and the North American Lacrosse League.
The Stickhorses struck early against a tentative Jersey squad and built steadily to a 9-2 lead by the middle of the second quarter. Concentration lapses by Kentucky led to defensive breakdowns and numerous penalties until the middle of the third quarter. Jersey was able to add a few goals power play goals during the stretch, but the Kentucky offense and timely saves by first-half goalie Patrick Crosby and second-half goalie Ginny Cappichioni maintained the Kentucky lead until the defense regained its composure mid-way through the third quarter.
By the start of the 4th quarter, both teams had settled into their games. Jersey hit numerous breakaways in the final period, most stopped by the solid effort of Capicchioni. Kentucky put together solid settled offensive possessions and likewise found a few breakaways to grow their eventual lead to 12. Kentucky prevailed with a final score of 19 to 7.
Kentucky scoring was led by forward Brian Caufield with 6 points (5 goals, 1 assist) followed by forward Joel Zalesky (3-0) and local Louisville product Porter McKay (2-1) with 3 points each. Anthony Kelly and Julian Maliszewski combined to win 19 of the 30 face-offs. Crosby and Capicchioni posted 28 saves on 35 shots.
Kentucky showed very solid goaltending, the ability to strike quickly and roll with momentum in putting together a couple quick streaks of goals. Jersey had speed and vision to create scoring threats any time the ball turned over. Familiarity between players of the two teams helped keep mid-game roughing from escalating. Solid, clean play by both teams in the 4th quarter helped both teams stay upbeat heading into their rematch in February.
The next game for both Kentucky and Jersey is against each other on Saturday, Febuary 4th at Freedom Hall in Louisville. Game starts at 8:00 pm.